ABC Television is under siege after airing—and then "censoring"— Adam Lambert's controversial male-on-male "S&M" performance at the American Music Awards. More than 1,500 parents called the network to complain about Lambert's (reportedly unplanned) decision to simulate oral sex on stage with a male dancer. And though Lambert warned ABC that editing would amount to "discrimination," the network cut the segment for West Coast audiences (after airing it intact in EST). Fumed Lambert: "I don't mean to get political, but Madonna, Britney and Christina weren't edited ... female entertainers have been risqué for years." Did ABC act prudently—or politically incorrectly? (Watch Adam Lambert's performance at the AMAs.)
Where’s the outrage when it’s girl-on-girl? Adam Lambert’s "crotch-central action" isn’t anything new, says Jim Farber in the New York Daily News, at least for female performers. We’ve seen plenty of it "from Madonna, Britney, Janet," and countless other women. I say, "bull’s-eye Adam"—I’m glad you "tried to even up the score between mainstream depictions of man-on-man action and gal-on-gal."
"Adam Lambert AMA performance: Why he struck a nerve where Madonna, Britney didn’t"
ABC should blame itself: It's "beyond contemptible" to broadcast simulated oral sex to children, says the Parents Television Council in a press release, urging more parents to complain. Though the network says it was blindsided, it should have known "what to expect." Lambert had proclaimed that his performance "would be ‘very sexy’ and would include leather and chains." The network chose to bury its head in the sand. (UPDATE: ABC has cancelled a Lambert performance planned for Good Morning America.)
"PTC Slams ABC for Tasteless “American Music Awards” Broadcast"
Lambert's new political consciousness is just PR: Lambert's "four minutes of simulated sex and bondage" didn't cross the line, says The Boston Globe in an editorial. But Lambert did, when he started treating "the right to simulate sex on TV" as a gay civil rights issue. "The staging of yet another highly suggestive performance at yet another award show isn’t a political statement for equality," it’s a hackneyed "publicity tool."
"Television: Two standards, or too racy?"
ABC should be ashamed: Or so say the legion of Twitterers who've made "#shameonyouABC" the social media site's top trending topic today, posting thousands of messages of support for Lambert every minute. "Apparently now ABC/Disney is in control of American morality," tweets @orosiefactor, "[and] thank God—I was so tired of thinking for myself." Adds @aseany: "Another win for bigotry."
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF ADAM LAMBERT:
• The Adam Lambert blurred-kiss controversy
• From sweet to sexual: An Adam Lambert video timeline
• Adam Lambert's risky CD cover
• Adam Lambert's 'Details' photo shoot