Once again, no one is safe on the Internet. In promotional support of his new album, Paula, released on July 1, singer Robin Thicke agreed to participate in an online chat sponsored by VH1. On Monday VH1 tweeted, “Have a burning question for @robinthicke? Submit your ?s for tomorrow’s Twitter Q+ A using #AskThicke!” The Internet was all too happy to comply, barraging the feed with a litany of critical comments that ranged from dismissing the singer’s music to maligning him personally.
Thicke is a relatively easy target; he has faced controversy since his single “Blurred Lines” exploded onto the scene in 2013. The song, with lyrics such as “I know you want it,” and accompanying video, which featured topless women dancing around the singer, spawned a backlash of accusations of misogyny and promoting “rape culture.” 2014 has only created more opportunities for mockery; the singer’s new album and promotional activities have centered around his attempts to “win back” his estranged wife, actress Paula Patton. His new video, “Get Her Back,” features Thicke looking battered and bruised as he sings mournfully about missing Patton.
All of these events were seemingly fair game online, and the hashtag #askthicke continues to trend and expand. Despite the hate, the actual Twitter conversation took place on Tuesday afternoon, and Thicke not only responded to the several questions but tweeted at the time, “I’m a big boy. I can handle it.” VH1 has yet to comment on the situation.