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Adam Lambert recalls being ‘banned’ by ABC after on-stage gay kiss

The singer said he'd seen a development in LGBTQ visibility in TV, film, and music since then.

By Alastair James

Adam Lambert for Attitude Magazine
Adam Lambert for Attitude Magazine (Image: Joseph Sinclair)

The singer Adam Lambert has discussed being “banned” by the American TV network, ABC, after sharing a same-sex kiss onstage in 2009.

On Saturday (21 January), Lambert was accepting an award the Creative Coalition’s annual Spotlight Initiative Awards Gala Dinner with Entertainment Weekly. The event is part of the Sundance Film Festival.

During his speech, he looked back on his 2009 American Music Awards performance of his debut single, ‘For Your Entertainment,’ which he concluded by kissing a male band member.

Lambert said: “I did the kind of performance I had seen since I was a teenager. I was kind of sexy, and had dancers on stage, and I did a couple of suggestive moves with a couple of dancers, and an impromptu kiss with my bass player. I was feeling it.”

“They banned me for a while”

But there was trouble for Lambert offstage afterward. “The network [ABC] was like, ‘How dare you?’ They banned me for a while. They threatened me with a lawsuit.”

Lambert said the incident made him realise where some people attitudes still were at the time. It also spurred him on to make change for LGBTQ people.

He then said he’d seen a big difference after more than a decade since then.

“I keep meeting more and more young people that saw me when they were a kid on TV. They’re like, ‘Oh, you know what? You helped me talk to my parents about being gay.

“You made me feel like it was OK to be who I was’ — and I’m not the only one that did that for young people.”

“Visibility is so powerful”

Speaking of his debut film, Fairyland, Lambert said he was glad to see visibility had come a long way.

“Visibility is so powerful. The LGBTQ community has been under attack for a long time. We’re under attack again. There’s a lot of conservative pushback and making art that represents the queer experience and stars queer people, that gives the LGBTQ community strength, hope.”

He committed to keep trying to make a difference.

The singer recently found himself in hot water with fans. After The White Lotus star, Theo James, indicated he’d love to play gay icon George Michael in a potential biopic Adam expressed his dissatisfaction with “another straight man playing a gay icon”.

James is assumed to be straight.

Lambert later said his “sarcastic little comment,” was about straight people playing gay icons, not gay characters generally.

 “I just want some equal opportunity that’s all,” Lambert, who has previously expressed an interest in playing Michael, clarified.

Attitude has contacted ABC for comment.