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CBS responds to criticism over blurring of Adam Lambert's kiss on 'The Early Show'

Dick-clark-productions-adam-lambert Does Adam Lambert have it right?

This morning, during his appearance on "The Early Show," Lambert said he believed the furor over his sexually charged American Music Awards performance on Sunday was due to the fact that he's a gay male. He pointed out that Janet Jackson, for example, who opened the telecast, grabbed the crotch of a male dancer and no one had even mentioned that.

Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton expressed his disgust over the "double standard" in a post this morning and asked why CBS' "The Early Show" blurred the image of Lambert kissing one of his band members but showed Madonna's famous 2007 kiss with Britney Spears at the Video Music Awards.

We thought it was a valid question, and we took it to CBS.

A CBS representative responded: "We gave this some real thought.  The Madonna image is very familiar and has appeared countless times, including many times on morning television. The Adam Lambert image is a subject of great current controversy, has not been nearly as widely disseminated and, for all we know, may still lead to legal consequences."

What do you think?

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Adam Lambert's AMA kiss. Credit: Dick Clark Productions


Adam Lambert answers his critics

Comments () | Archives (37)

No biggee. They didn't even have to show it at all.
No controversy here.

Loved seeing Adam this morning on CBS!!
CBS Rocks!

Now is the time to start questioning those legal consequences and changing them.

I think if adam lambert just kept it at kissing a guy we wouldn’t be talking about this. My guess is… its the dancer who put his mouth to his crotch that might have put this over the edge. Stop turning the vulgar acts of other as homophobia. Its just poor taste.

Censorship is censorship is censorship. There is NO excuse.

Legal action? For kissing? WOW. Party like it's 1950 folks.

As a straight, married, professional, adult, female PARENT I am *extremely* offended by the double standards present in today's media. Britney & Madonna = ok. Janet & Stranger = ok. Adam Lambert & Guitarist/Keyboardist Tommy Joe Ratliff = How Dare You, Cover Your Eyes?? Please. The vast majority of this planet's inhabitants have sex, enjoy sex, and watch sex. Sex sells everything from soap to diamonds to music to movies.

Adam Lambert is the best thing to happen to the entertainment industry in DECADES. He's talented, charming, articulate, and funny. Wait. I missed something. Oh yeah. Adam Lambert is beautiful and SEXY. I hear he just happens to be gay. Color me whatever shade says "WHO CARES?"

With the availability of the internet and Google, how can anyone say "I wasn't expecting this?" Idols Live Tour videos reveal Adam's crotch grabbing and microphone masturbating. Zodiac Show videos reveal skimpy costumes and simulated sex. The very lyrics to 'For Your Entertainment' reveal who Adam really is from the first words "So hot, out the box". He warned that he'd come off the ropes swinging. You just chose to ignore the warning.

I think they censored and this was the only excuse they could make-up, just who the hell is going to sue. The man he kissed was a longtime friend.

While a valid question, I still would like to thank CBS for airing Adam this morning. I think I can speak for many fans, that we were quite disapointed when we found out Adam's GMA concert had been canned. You made us happy again.

I think that CBS just proved Adam's point. I applaud them for putting him on the show this morning after GMA dropped him and really showcasing him, giving him a chance to show what his OTHER music is about, to show the world who he really is, but at the same time they proved exactly what he said - there is a double standard. MadgeBrit kissing is old hat, who cares anymore but Adam kissing another man - OMG we have to wait a few years before we are sure whether THAT's OK?!?!? Discrimination, yes.

@Kim, you rule.

I am in total agreement.

I also thought CBS' rationale might be something along those lines, or just trying to get everything by the Standards and Practices people in a short amount of time. I figured they were erring on the side of caution, but it only proves Adam's point. There is a complete double standard perpetuated by societal norms for years.

From what I glean from Cinemax periphery, the adult entertainment industry has known this for decades. Soft porn is two women together and considered nothing. Hardcore is male, full-frontal, and then some. I'm sure there are extremely specific guidelines that determine these ratings, which would probably be enlightening and hilarious reading, but they all hearken back to our gender-based preconceptions, which, in my opinion, are rooted in straight male fantasy.

Why are two women together perceived as sensual and sexually liberated while two men together are unequivocally homosexual? I'm not saying I don't have that same bias myself, but shining the light on our hypocrisy is part of the discussion. Go Adam.

I would have more respect for CBS if they came out with the truth.

The truth is this:

Madonna & Britney kissing on stage gives the male executives at CBS and the heterosexual male viewing audience at large their much needed girl-on-girl masturbatory fantasies. One only has to know a few straight males to know that they are LARGELY getting off to girl-on-girl porn.

Adam & a male kissing on stage gives the male executives at CBS and the heterosexual male viewing audience reason to question and think about their own sexuality. This makes straight men HUGELY uncomfortable. And it hurts their ego. And so they lash out. And society has given them carte blanche to abuse, degrade, and humiliate gay men at any and every given opportunity, while they secretly get off on the girl-on-girl stuff. SO, as long as expressed sexuality is for the pleasure of the heterosexual male, it is OK. Anything else - NOT. Really???? Is this what we have allowed to happen???

I am not an Adam Lambert fan. I had never even heard of him before the awards show. Nor am I gay. But this is CLEARLY a double-standard.

Bottom line here seems to be that if something gives a straight guy a sexual thrill, it is OK. If it does not, it is wrong or bad.

Really folks, whatever your personal views are about gay people, are we really so closed minded as to not truly see what is going on here?

I'm an old lady by most people's standards. I watched the clip of Adam on You Tube. And I did not see him doing anything I haven't seen heterosexuals doing on the tele for decades.

What this is TRULY about is heterosexual men and their need to abuse, degrade and humiliate gay men publicly and often in order to boost their own masculine identity (or lack thereof) and placate their own fears about their own same-sex attractions.

Take it from a someone who has been married to a bunch of them. Their sexuality is fragile. And any challenge to it, whether that challenge is real or perceived, will be met with typical heterosexual male ego.

What is the TRUE issue here is that we are teaching our men that it is OK to treat gay people the way that they do. I realize that a lot of us straight ladies aren't a lot better, but this heterosexual MANIACAL obsession with gay people is OUR issue and character-flaw to deal with, and not theirs.

Straight folks should really take a moment to look at this and ask themselves what this is really all about. Because as I approach the big 6-0, I wonder how it is that I was lucky enough to have escaped the character-flaw of abusing gay people, while others are so attached to it, they feel as if they are entitled to this abuse. And that is what this is, folks. It is abuse.

I do not think that Adam is the immoral party here. I think us heterosexuals need to own this one. He did not do anything we haven't been prancing around doing for many many years. And he has every bit a right to express his sexuality as we do ours.

Many heterosexuals enjoy telling gays that they are 'cramming it down our throats' when in fact, it is and has always been the other way around.

I though by the time I reached 60, the gay panic and obsession would have been settled by now. But until we as heterosexuals are willing to take a look at our character-flaws regarding how we treat and view gay citizens, I can't imagine much will change in this world.

We are causing real harm to these people's lives. We are damaging their lives and their minds. And the majority of us seem to think that is OK.

But it is not. No matter what God tells you.

(Good luck, Adam. Be strong, young man. You will need to be.)

I'm not wanting to get mad at CBS right now cuz it was totally awesome for inviting Adam after ABC stupidly canceled him. That said, I do believe there was a double standard in blurring the kiss. Blurring the simulated oral was fine but blurring just a kiss when they showed Madonna's proved the exact thing that Adam was complaining about.

Adam said in the interview that the controversy is due him being a "gay male and I think people haven't seen that before." CBS agrees with Adam, just CBS doesn't see anything wrong with censoring the unfamiliar. Shameful.

And Andy Towle at Towleroad.com was first to blog about the blurred kiss discrepancy, Perez picked up on it much later.

If a kiss leads to legal action then I am leaving this country. I don't think I can stay in the same country as a bunch of self-righteous hypocrtis. There is nothing wrong with that kiss. It's just a kiss. Big deal. Grow up America. The rest of the world is laughing at your stupidity.

Kim, Suse1701, Annya I agree and have additional thoughts:

Interestingly enough my husband and I had a conversation about this. He saw Adam's performance on AMA and said it wasn't anything different than what the others on the show before him were doing. He even thought Adam kissed a female until I told him otherwise. He is not as tolerant about the whole gay issue, but not against, per say.

Ok, on to the whole male/male versus female/female kiss. He said that yes, it is hot for him to see two good looking females kissing but not two males. He also said I couldn't possibly find two men kissing to be a turn on. I told him that, well, actually I do find two men kissing to be a turn on, especially if they are good looking. And I will admit that Adam and Tommy are pretty hot and actually found the kiss to be hot - and told him so. Further, I told him I also find two women kissing to be hot if they are good looking but that doesn't mean that is my sexual preference. Face it, we like to see what we perceive as pretty people in our fantasies, don't we?

Why is it that men can enjoy their fantasy turn-ons, but women can't! Adam is not afraid of his sexuality and why should we be. The audience and viewers were warned by the announcer saying before commercial breaks things like Adam's shocking performance and "will all be talking about it tomorrow" - and the media talked about Adam's sexy performance for days. He admitted he got a little carried away in the AMA moment and will use it as a learning experience. They didn't censor any of the other performers and he came on last.

I think on this issue, women will need to help pick up the torch because most hetero males will not unless they are very secure in their masculinity. Well, at least not vocally. I await the day when Adam can just be referred to as a man, not a "gay" man and we don't have to say I am hetero or I am gay. Or conversely, we CAN say I am hetero or I am gay just to let someone know if an advance (sexually speaking) would be appropriate by another.

This whole issue is not going away. Adam has explained his actions and views eloquently and I am satisfied with his response. I do agree that CBS should not have blurred the Adam kiss and exhibited the double standard we are talking about. I don't however want to raise the pitch fork to CBS when they picked up the ball and had Adam as a guest on the show.

So CBS, just know that your double standard has been seen in the light of day while I applaud you for having Adam on today. So one wrong and one right is a zero sum gain. But I will take that today and hope we can move forward...

The excuse that they blurred the kiss because it "may lead to legal consequences" isn't just lame, it's thoroughly dishonest. Men have been kissing on network television--erratically but increasingly--for just over a decade, since Dawson's Creek in the late 1990s. In terms of daytime, CBS' own As the World Turns has featured a young gay couple kissing for 2 years now while ABC's One Life to Live has recently featured same-sex kissing between their male couple for several months. There have not been any "legal consequences" as a result of these kisses; why, all of a sudden, would there be "legal consequences" for Adam's kiss? Lame, truly lame, and deeply offensive.

Adam clearly made his point regarding the 'double standard'. The selective 'blur' made his point all the more relative. While I 'somewhat' understand CBS's stance regarding the legal implications,I am troubled by the fact that any legal action is being considered at all! Are they going to revisit the Madonna/Britney/Christina three-way kissing fest and go after THEM retroactively??

CBS's response is INCREDIBLY weak and shameful.

If the public isn't familiar to gay kisses, then you familiarize the public with gay kisses, and the Adam Lambert kiss is one step towards familiarity. If CBS wishes not to familiarize gay kisses through Adam Lambert, then they would be smart and respectful enough to familiarize the public with gay kisses through other means, such as with characters on their television shows. Otherwise, censoring gay kisses because of unfamiliarity isn't just an argument, it's a direct one-way ticket into a vicious cycle without end.

If Adam Lambert's kiss was part of a great controversy, then take a look at the controversy to see what really made it great (hint: simulation of oral-sex), then isolate the truly controversial part of the act from the not-controversial gay kiss. This is America, land of the free and home of the brave - if we choose not to inspect these "great controversies" for what they are and instead lump everything together, then we shouldn't argue when others call us spineless cowards and question our Americanism.

Lastly, if legal consequences arise from two men kissing but not two women kissing, then that is purely unconstitutional and will be challenged in court before you can turn around and see a loving gay couple innocently kissing each other somewhere in America. CBS should know this and grow a pair.

This entire statement reeks of homophobia stemming from gay kisses, and this kind of homophobia is wrong and must be stopped. The LGBT community will absolutely have none of this discrimination and dehumanization whatsoever.

"The Adam Lambert image is a subject of great current controversy, has not been nearly as widely disseminated and, for all we know, may still lead to legal consequences."

Whaaaaat? Legal consequences? Are they serious? I know that some of your government (hi from Canada) has been slow on the uptake in terms of human rights but "legal problems?"

At first wasn't sure Adam should have gone so OTT....especially the BJ... He has too good a voice for that easy crap.....but now I see it's bringing larger issues into the conversation. So good.

The new video by Adam is fantastic and is what he should have done on the show...if he was being good.

What a cop out! Biggest load of hypocrisy I've seen or heard.

I agree with Adam - it's purely because he's a gay male. I think his act was a bit over the top, but nothing worse than I've seen in other video clips featuring female performers.

I think the whole set-up was disgusting, vulgar and inapproapriate for anyone, whatever age group or gender. He has pushed his lifestyle and longing for attention way over the edge.

I am glad that he was censored - thank goodness that not everyone was subjected to this.

I liked him in the American Idol competition, but am appalledbeyond belief. >

Hey, the immortal Elvis Presley shocked America with his hip swivels and pelvis thrusting so badly that he was not permitted to perform on camera for a long time without being filmed only from the waist up. Adam Lambert has the same vocal genius, sex appeal and energy as Elvis did, and will be just as great someday. Watch him soar!

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