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GLAAD clarifies its position regarding Adam Lambert and asks ABC for an explanation

December 3, 2009 |  6:17 pm

Getprev-1 Since ShowTracker posted the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's statement this afternoon regarding ABC's cancellations of upcoming Adam Lambert performances, Lambert fans have taken to this blog and to Twitter to express criticism and confusion over GLAAD's apparent support of ABC's decisions.  Now, GLAAD is clarifying its position.

GLAAD's original statement was included in a press release containing a statement from ABC that said: "Given the live nature of the American Music Awards, Adam Lambert’s performance, which differed greatly from his rehearsal, caught many, including the network, off guard. This is not a question of Lambert’s sexual orientation. As is evidenced by GLAAD’s media report card, ABC is at the forefront of positive gay and lesbian portrayal on television. We welcome openly gay performers and look forward to continuing our great work within the LGBT community."

A GLAAD spokesman just sent The Times a new statement that further clarifies the organization's feelings about the way Lambert has been treated and whether ABC should be held accountable.  ABC canceled Lambert's appearances on "Good Morning America," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" , and is no longer considering him for the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" roster.

"Since his American Music Awards performance occurred GLAAD has consistently advocated that Adam Lambert and openly gay artists not be held to a double standard. As we have expressed publicly, it is disappointing that ABC will not give Lambert a chance to perform at this time. GLAAD’s discussions with ABC focused on confirming that his sexual orientation was not a factor in their decisions. ABC confirmed this is not about a same-sex kiss or his sexual orientation but about being “caught off guard.” GLAAD asked ABC and calls on them for clarification on 'caught off guard' so that the community knows why Lambert is being denied the opportunity to perform on the network."

In an interview with CBS' "The Early Show" last week, Lambert admitted that he got carried away with his performance of "For Your Entertainment" and included elements in his act that were not part of the rehearsals. For example, Lambert said that in rehearsals he pulled the hair of his male keyboardist. During the telecast, he kissed the man.  Those kinds of changes in the act angered ABC executives, who are also facing possible "indecency" or "obsenity" fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

On his Twitter page, Lambert blamed the "FCC heat" on ABC for the cancellations. Lambert was referring to a complaint filed by Liberty Counsel on Nov. 24 against ABC, demanding that the network pay a financial penalty "for airing such an outrageously lewd and filthy performance during a show and time period that is targeted for family audiences." Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm that is closely tied to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and provides legal assistance in defense of "Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family."

ABC has declined several interview requests from the Times about the controversy. Lambert told "The Early Show" that he learned his lesson and in the future will stick with what he has rehearsed with producers. Since then, he has performed on "The Early Show" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and both were well-received.


--Maria Elena Fernandez

--Photo: Adam Lambert during AMA's/Credit: Getty Images

Related:

Christian group's FCC complaint at center of ABC's woes

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