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GLAAD president explains his position regarding ABC's treatment of Adam Lambert

December 4, 2009 |  4:19 pm

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They say the third one's the charm.

In the third statement released in two days about the ABC v. Adam Lambert controversy, the Gay and Lesbian  Alliance Against Defamation on Friday explicitly criticized the network for using a "double standard" against the "American Idol" runner-up and called on the community to protest ABC.

GLAAD's previous two statements regarding ABC's cancellations of Lambert's performances on the network after his sexually charged American Music Awards appearance have drawn criticism and caused confusion.  In the first statement, GLAAD seemed to give ABC a free pass: "It would appear that the kiss between Adam Lambert and his keyboardist did not factor into ABC’s decision."

In the second statement, GLADD said "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."

This afternoon, GLAAD issued its strongest statement yet, saying that the organization does, in fact, believe that ABC canceled Lambert's appearances on "Good Morning America" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and stopped considering him for "New Year's Rockin' Eve" because he is an "openly gay performer."

All of this gave us whiplash, so we asked GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios for a telephone interview, which he granted.

Barrios said that he realized quickly after the first statement was issued that GLAAD's position was being misunderstood because "I'll admit it, the statement should have been more clearly worded," he said.

"Giving ABC the opportunity to explain themselves is important, but it's also important for us to be clear about what our position is," Barrios said. "And that is that we believe that Adam Lambert is being subjected to a double standard because he's an openly gay entertainer. Canceling his performances, past and future, are a result of that double standard."

Although GLAAD asked ABC to explain itself to the public in the second statement, it failed to be clear about how the organization deemed ABC's actions. Barrios decided to issue a third statement, he said, to make it crystal clear.

"GLAAD is appreciative of ABC's other work," Barrios said, referring to the commendations ABC has received in recent years for the network's portrayal of gay characters on several of its prime-time shows.  "But let me be clear: We remain steadfast in our beliefs that he's being subjected to a double standard because he's an openly gay performer."

GLAAD no longer wants ABC to explain what it meant by "caught off guard" to the public. Instead, Barrios said he hopes viewers will let ABC know what they think about how Lambert is being treated. ABC declined to comment today.

"We're urging the community to reach out to ABC and express those concerns because we believe Adam Lambert is being subjected to an unfair double standard," Barrios said.


--Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Photo: Adam Lambert appears on "The Early Show"/Credit: Getty Images

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