Instagram: Joshua Bassett

Joshua Bassett has released a statement in response to his viral video about Harry Styles.

Earlier this week, the High School Musical: The Series star sparked speculation about his sexuality after complimenting the British singer-songwriter and his “charming” personality.

In an interview with Clevver News, Bassett said: “I think he’s a nice guy, doesn’t say too much, but when he talks, it matters. He’s just cool.

“Who doesn’t think Harry Styles is cool? Also, he’s hot, you know? He’s very charming too.” 

The 20-year-old then joked: “This is also my coming out video, I guess.”

Bassett’s rabid online fanbase took his offhand comment as official confirmation that he identifies as queer, and came out in droves on Twitter to welcome him to the community.

On Tuesday (11 May), Bassett released a powerful statement on Twitter in which he assured his followers that it’s “okay to still be figuring out who you are” and that he chooses love over hate.

“My entire life people have told me my sexuality,” the star wrote.

“People have shamed me for things they know nothing about. I want to say thank you to those of you who stand for love and acceptance. Toxicity, hatred, and negativity say less about the subject, but say for more about those who spew it.

“It’s 2021. We are the generation of love and growth, it’s time we start acting like it. Whether you love me, hate me, or damn me to hell, I love you all the same. Love who you love shamelessly. It’s okay to still be figuring out who you are.

“Life’s too short to let ignorance and hatred win. I choose love.” 

After rising to fame with guest spots on shows such as Lethal Weapon, Stuck in the Middle and Grey’s Anatomy, Bassett was catapulted to superstardom with his role as Ricky Bowen in High School Musical: The Series.

The first season became a smash hit with viewers and critics, winning the GLAAD Media Award in 2020 for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming. HSM took a break last year due to COVID, but returns for season two this Friday on Disney+.

Bassett has also launched a bid for pop superstardom with tracks such as Lie Lie Lie, Only Matter of Lie and Feel Something, all of which are included on his self-titled EP – out now on iTunes and streaming services. 

You can read Joshua Bassett’s statement in full here or below.