Blue Peter presenter Adam Beales has been criticised for pretending to come out as gay in a YouTube video.
In the seven-minute clip the TV star messages friends lyrics from the Diana Ross classic ‘I’m Coming Out’ as a prank, and waits to see how they will respond.
The newly unearthed video, which was shot in 2016, has provoked outcry after the 20-year-old from Derry, Northern Ireland, was appointed to the flagship BBC show two days ago.
Human rights and LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said coming out is not something that should be ‘trivialised or pranked’ about, but that he didn’t think Beales made the video with ‘homophobic intent’.
‘His responses and those of the people he pranked were not anti-gay. If anything, Adam himself became the butt of his own prank,’ he said. ‘There are bigger issues to get angry about.’
It follows the revelation that the YouTuber, who boasts three million subscribers, earns £100,000-a-year from his channel. After he was snapped up by the BBC this month he wasted no time in promoting his own merchandise.
Adam Beales has been criticised for a YouTube video he made in 2016 where he pranked friends pretending he was gay to see how they would respond
He messaged them lyrics from the Diana Ross classic ‘I’m Coming Out’ to see how they would respond. One friend said: ‘Knew that anyway. I see the way you look at me.’
He used the lyrics from the classic song ‘I’m Coming Out’ in the prank with his friends
The YouTuber admits at the start of his video that his prank ‘totally failed’ and that his friends ‘think that I am gay’.
For his first attempt, he messages a friend to say: ‘I need to tell you something. You’re one of the first few people I am telling this to.’
And when the friend asks what’s happened, Beales breaks into Diana Ross saying: ‘There’s a new me coming out.’
‘What’s that even mean?’, responds the friend.
‘I’m completely positive. I think that this time around I am gonna do it. I’m coming out…’
‘Knew that anyway,’ says the friend, completely un-phased by the prank, and adds, ‘I see the way you look at me’ before sending a screenshot of the Diana Ross lyrics.
LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell said coming out shouldn’t be trivialised but that he didn’t think the video was offensive. ‘There are bigger issues to get angry about,’ he said
Adam Beales, 20, is the new Blue Peter presenter and has a history in broadcast from YouTube
When he tries the prank on another friend they say: ‘I’ve known for ages. Could see you eyeing me up some days.’
‘There’s not one single person so far who’s said “oh congratulations Adam” or “Goodness me that’s so shocking”, he says, disappointed that his prank has failed.
‘But, in all seriousness guys, there’s nothing wrong with being gay, but I’m not gay. I am not gay even though I tried to prank people and they still think I’m gay.’
The clip has had more than 280,000 views since it was posted. Its comment function has been turned off.
Beales, who bought his parents their £165,000 house, was snapped up by the BBC this month in an attempt to ‘freshen up’ Blue Peter.
Joined by his family in a £165,000 house he recently purchased for them, Adam B shared the news with his 2.9million subscribers on Tuesday evening
He confirmed the news to his followers on Thursday, stating: ‘Guys, by now you would have seen the announcement and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, I am the 40th Blue Peter presenter, I don’t know what to think.
‘You might have seen as well I have new merch coming out this Friday so go get your merch, there’s a 40 on the back, AdamB on the front. I have hoodies, masks and t-shirts.’
He also told his subscribers that, although his debut is on Thursday, he will continue to make YouTube videos.
The BBC has been contacted for comment.