Judas Priest’s Rob Halford on online homophobes: “I embrace them. I don’t push ’em away”

“I still get bullied occasionally on the internet, social media. That’s just the way it is.”

Rob Halford onstage

Photo: Daniel Knighton / Getty Images

Even after more than two decades of being openly gay, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford still gets “bullied occasionally” online.

Halford – who proudly referred to himself as the “stately homo of heavy metal” – opened up on being a gay metal icon in the internet age during a new interview with CBC Radio One’s Q.

When asked whether he reads the homophobic comments left by online haters, Halford replied: “Yeah, I do”.

“Because it’s important that I do, because that way I know that there are still those kinds of people out there,” he said. “And I embrace them. I don’t push ’em away; I embrace them. I say, ‘Let’s talk about why you feel that way.'”

Halford, who came out of the closet in 1998 on MTV, was one of the first in metal to do so publicly. On how he’s fared against bigotry over the years, he offered: “You have to have empathy.”

“You can’t put up walls. You can’t suppress. You have to be open, you have to be ready to talk, no matter how difficult it is, because that can help,” he explained. “And if you can help somebody, that’s a good thing to do.”

Halford was on air to promote his autobiography Confess, which was released on 29 September. The book charts the 69-year-old’s life in rock and roll from the 80s all the way to 2020, when Judas Priest celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band.

Earlier this year, the frontman also confirmed that he has been working on a new blues album which will feature his brother and nephew.

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