Many fans of the A-list couple were devastated by the news and shared their distress and condolences on social media. Others took the opportunity to drag either half of the former couple, with many setting their sights on Mendes in particular.
The Canadian artist started dating Cuban-American singer Cabello in mid-2019. Their relationship has been closely watched in the years since, particularly after allegations of a PR stunt were levied. Numerous people accused the duo of faking a relationship as a publicity stunt and were initially wary of the pairing.
The duo stayed together for several years, however, allowing them to leave all accusations of a dating stunt in the past. The recent announcement of their breakup has instead spurred different rumors: that Mendes is gay.
This is far from the first time Mendes has faced accusations like these. The singer was forced to address rumors regarding his sexuality in 2016, stating via Snapchat that “I’m not gay,” and going on to point out that “it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or if I wasn’t. The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality,” according to reporting from US Weekly.
The rumor mill is back at it in the wake of Mendes and Cabello’s breakup. After rumors began swirling yet again about Mendes’ sexuality, fans of the 23-year-old singer took to Twitter to defend the young heartthrob.
“Can we stop the ‘Shawn Mendes is gay’ gossip,” one user wrote. “First, who cares? Second, this is just bullying and sends a message to little kids that being gay is something to be mocked or gossiped about.”
A huge number of Mendes fans agreed, blasting naysayers for discussing Mendes’ sexuality as if it has any effect on his music.
Another user pointed out that “this ‘shawn mendes is gay because he is feminine’ bit is so tired and damaging to all boys—queer or not—trying to build a healthy relationship w masculinity.”
The incident appears somewhat triggering for some in the LGBTQ+ community, some of whom noted that it feels like a “gut punch” to hear people use the same language they grew up hearing to describe Mendes.
Quite a few people put the blame for the rumors on the gay community itself. They accused gay men, in particular, of being so desperate to have a chance with Mendes that they are now perpetuating an unconfirmed, and damaging, rumor.
As Mendes treads the treacherous waters that he and Cabello‘s breakup has prompted, at least he can rest easy knowing that a large portion of the internet is there to back him up.