Adam Levine addresses criticism over his reaction to a fan grabbing him on stage: ‘I was really startled’

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Adam Levine is responding to criticism over his reaction to a stage crasher.

During Maroon 5’s performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, Levine had his eyes closed while singing “Sunday Morning” when a female fan rushed the stage and threw her arms around him. Video of the moment — in which he reacted by saying “f***” and grimacing as he shook it off — went viral, leading Levine to speak out and respond to claims he thinks the fans are “beneath” him.

“I just wanted to address the Hollywood Bowl incident thing, a fan coming up to me onstage,” Levine said on Instagram. “I have always been someone that loves, respects, worships our fans. Without our fans, we don’t have a job. I say that all the time to our fans. To think that anyone would believe that I thought that I thought … our fans were beneath us, or less than us, makes my stomach turn. That’s just not who I am. That’s not who I’ve ever been.”

Of the fan grabbing him, “I was really startled,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re startled, you have to shake it off and move on, because I’m doing my job up there. And it’s what I pride myself on.”

He continued, “So I need to let you guys know what my heart is — and my heart is that connection that exists between the band performing onstage and the fans.”

Levine ended by saying, “Hopefully you can all understand that,” and then blew a kiss.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 23: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during the 8th annual LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 23: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during the 8th annual

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage at the “We Can Survive” concert hosted by Audacy at Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 23. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Audacy)

The video went viral after being shared by TikTok user Luis Peñaloza with the caption: “Adam Levine was not having it.” While the caption has since been changed, it led to a debate on various social media platforms over how Levine handled the situation.

On one hand, there are many defending Levine, reminding that you need consent to touch another person — even a rock star. Not to mention that it’s a pandemic. 

But others took issue with his reaction, which he didn’t try to mask, leaping to the conclusion that it means he thinks he’s better than his fans.