Just a day after People magazine unveiled its cover story about Clay Aiken coming out of the closet, Simon Cowell responded to the news in his usual sarcastic fashion. "Wow. That's a shock. It's like being told Santa Claus isn't real," he told "Extra." "Unbelievable."
But he did offer some words of support for the singer: "Good for him. If he said it, it's the right thing for him. Good for him." Cowell added that he didn't think the singer's fans should be shocked by the revelation, saying, "I don't think anyone cares. Let's face it: It's 2008. You know. Who cares?"
In the years after the singer competed on "American Idol" in 2003, he would neither confirm nor deny his sexuality, despite wild speculation that he was gay.
The MTV community has responded mostly with support for Aiken. "Clay ... Aiken ... is ... gay? This is news how? I'm glad he finally came out, though. Good for him! I just don't understand how this is worthy of a magazine cover or any headline," Tess wrote.
Mspirate924 said, "So what if he's gay? He came out, and that's his own personal business."
Outside of the MTV message boards, it seemed that while many Aiken fans — also known as Claymates — were shocked by the announcement, they wanted to support the "Idol" runner-up. Yenn on the official "American Idol" message board said, "It really makes no difference whether Clay is gay or not. And it's good to see so many people feel the same way."
Stilldannysfan echoed the sentiment, congratulating Clay for not only opening up about his sexuality, but also for starting a family. "I am so happy for Clay, both for becoming a proud papa and for finally being honest and open. I am sure the relief he is going to feel at not having to dodge the question over and over is going to be amazing," the commenter said. "Now he can devote all of his energy to raising his son and singing his songs without having to worry about 'everyone finding out.' Oh, and doesn't he look so completely happy holding his son?"
Other fans seemed to be in denial about Aiken's decision to come out. VoteForTheWorst.com compiled quotes from a number of fan sites, including one that said, "I think many will realize tomorrow that he is saying he is Happy = Gay. Happy about his new son, Parker. Not that he likes men."
Still, others turned their backs on the singer. Another commenter quoted on VoteForTheWorst said, "I was still hoping — wanting to be blind. Now my stomach just feels revolted. It was fun for 5 years. Now for me ... it's over. Wishing Clay all the best."
A fan on the Clayboard wrote, "I just wish he would have kept quiet about it instead of blabbing in a major publication. Now I have to endure the humiliation of being proven to be incredibly STUPID! I have donated all my Clay Aiken tee shirts, CDs, etc. to charity and some of the stuff ended up in the landfill, which is a good place for it."
Meanwhile, there will always be a commenter or two willing to joke about the whole thing. "In other news, Jon Stewart is Jewish, and Kanye West is a crybaby," a reader going by the handle Leon Doyle Is GOD wrote on MTV.com.
Aiken took to his
Web site to thank supporters for sticking by his side, according to People.com. "We'll 'talk' more later," Aiken wrote. "But, suffice it to say, for the first time in recent memory, I am speechless. I'm so proud to know and love all of you.
"My family is so much larger than Parker, Jaymes, mom, Brett, etc. It extends to each of you," he added. "And I couldn't be more blessed."