Adam Lambert: ABC threatened to sue me for kissing a man at the 2009 AMAs

Adam Lambert is on a tear currently. He has every right to be, so go off, Adam. He put ABC on blast for acting like fools after his American Music Awards performance in 2009. He’d just placed second in season eight of American Idol after being afraid that he wouldn’t be accepted due to his homosexuality. Following his Idol performance, Entertainment Weekly wrote a favorable article on Adam that highlighted his approach to his sexuality as what made him such a great contestant. So Adam went into his AMA performance confident enough improvise a kiss with his bassist on stage. Following the show, stuffy ol’ ABC lost their fragile minds, banned him for a while and threatened to sue. In response to ABC’s antiquated reaction, Adam decided to, “be as gay as I f—ing can be.”

Adam Lambert opened up about his experience performing at the 2009 American Music Awards — and what he says was a negative reaction from ABC after he kissed a musician onstage during the telecast.

Lambert was accepting an award at the 2023 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala when he made the comments, according to Entertainment Weekly’s Patrick Gomez.

“I did the kind of performance I had seen since I was a teenager,” Lambert said of his 2009 performance. “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,” the singer added.

But according to Lambert, ABC (which televised the awards show) had a less-than-positive reaction to his onstage kiss.

“I got off stage and I got in trouble. The network was like, ‘How dare you?’ They banned me for a while,” Lambert said, per EW. “They threatened me with a lawsuit. It was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s where we’re at.'”

The “American Idol” alum said that he “didn’t know” his flirtatious performance would rub some the wrong way.

“I’d been in a bubble in LA amongst artists, weirdos, and I didn’t realize that that kind of thing would ruffle feathers the way it did,” Lambert explained.

Lambert went on to say in his acceptance speech that he subsequently decided to “be as gay as I fucking can be,” regardless of the consequences.

“If it gets me into trouble, it gets me in trouble, but I’m not going to back down from it,” the singer said of his decision to be “flamboyant” and “wild.”

[From Yahoo!]

ABC is, of course, owned by Disney, who is notoriously hypocritical about their LGBTQIA+ policies. I posted the video of the performance below. The kiss is about the 4:10 mark and it is clearly unplanned because it’s awkward as can be. The bass player maybe should be the offended one. But not ABC, there was nothing offensive or anything for them to push back on. It was a sexually charged, bondage-themed performance, a kiss was the tamest thing in it. Making an issue over the fact that it was two men was just silly. Also, I love that the network has an issue with Adam kissing his bass player, but they’re sort of fine with him smashing a man’s face in his crotch at the 1:05 mark. The fact that they pushed Adam to be as flamboyant as he wishes is delicious. Good for him.

As I said, Adam’s had a few points to make lately. Last week he reacted to the news that Theo James may be cast as George Michael in a biopic. Adam posted to Instagram, “Yay another straight man playing a gay icon.” This week, however, he clarified his point, saying, “I by no means think that gay characters can only be played by gay actors. That would be ridiculous.” But Adam believes that gay icons are different and should be played only by gay actors. I won’t argue this point. I will mention that Adam is currently starring in the film Fairyland, whose lead, Scoot McNairy is a straight man playing a gay man based on the author’s real gay father. And point out that Adam could possibly pass for George with the right makeup. And he can sing and act. Again, I’m not saying Adam doesn’t have a point, just giving you all the information.

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22 Responses to “Adam Lambert: ABC threatened to sue me for kissing a man at the 2009 AMAs”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Every exec and network was so homophonic back then. I’m surprised Fox didn’t ban him from American Idol, and Simon Cowell didn’t just regulate him to being a Broadway star and not a pop icon. Oh, wait! Cowell DID do that. And yet, some network is still trying to get Cowell back on air with his own new reality singing competition show. But the days of crotchety, bloated, snide, homophobic and racist Brits judging Americans are over, Cowell. So you’d better rein it in….

  2. CherHorowitz says:

    That sucks on ABC’s part. Britney and Madonna did it years before but i suppose its okay if you’re straight women doing a same sex kiss huh.

    I know very little about Adam Lambert other than his bizarre appearance in the Pretty Little Liars Halloween train episode. If you know you know!

    • LaraK says:

      That’s because two girls kissing plays to a lot of straight men’s fantasies. Two men kissing on the other hand triggers them. It’s messed up.

  3. j.ferber says:

    I remember that kiss and it was sexy as hell. ABC should be ashamed.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ j. ferber, you would think that ABC would be ashamed, but Disney and ABC are still one of the whitess, heterosexual news agency and board is abhorred by a kiss by a gay man. Color me surprised!!

      Disney, along with ABC, are one of the greatest hypocrites among all of the biggest networks and are still the same anti-LBGTQIA this century, along with this decade. (Referring to the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.)

      Agree with Kaiser that if anyone should have their panties in a twist is the bass player.

      On a side note, I agree with Lambert that the perpetual insistence with heterosexual men playing gay musicians/icons, should look at gay men first.

  4. Daisy says:

    Three things

    1. ABC were also the ones that blacklisted Janet over JT’s slip-up, so this tracks.

    2. I always thought he was going to be a MUCH more mainstream, “chart dwelling” artist than he ended up being, and this could explain why.

    3. While I get his point about icons in general, for this one I have to disagree bc Theo James is a dead ringer for GM and you don’t need mad chops to sing his catalogue, so vocal training is a thing. Maybe AL can handle the soundtrack/score with a Hans Zimmer type.

    • Tursitops says:

      Hard disagree on the quality of the voice required to play this role. It would be very challenging to do GM’s songs justice.

  5. Whomever says:

    I’m confused. Exactly what would grounds would ABC have to sue him for?

  6. kirk says:

    Youtube video has the kiss closer to 3:28 than 4:10.
    I’d also think they’d be more upset about him handling the female dancer’s crotch ~ 2:58.

    • Carty says:

      I love Adam, but I remember watching that performance at the time and the whole thing was vulgar and not really enjoyable to watch. To me it really wasn’t about a kiss with a man at all, but the overall combination of everything he did. He is such a great vocalist so I was disappointed that wasn’t highlighted more.

      • Snuffles says:

        And it was his worst vocal performance ever. I remember the aftermath and he was saying how incredibly stressed he was. Torn between trying to be mainstream and just being “as gay as he wanted to be”. I think there some in the gay community that were accusing him of selling out and this performance was an over correction.

      • SomeChick says:

        he’s an amazing vocalist and performer! but wow that song is not good.

  7. susan says:

    Adam ought to have been top of the list to play George Michael, IMO.

  8. Frippery says:

    I don’t really have a comment on this story but HONK for Adam Lambert. He is so so so so so so so talented, he is fun and he can do whatever the eff he wants. Honk.

  9. Otaku fairy says:

    It is delicious, isn’t it? Whether it’s males or females fighting back like that. I know better than to expect everybody to win their battles against the gender and sexuality terrorists. But it’s always a relief to see the cruelty fail or backfire in some way.

  10. Robert Phillips says:

    Here’s my question. What was ABC going to sue him over. As far as I know he didn’t do anything illegal. They might not have liked it. And did have the right to ban him from their network. But sue? That was just a threat.

  11. KC says:

    Were they going to sue Madonna and Brittney?

  12. ML says:

    Possibly thanks to this kissing incident, Adam has gracefully and flamboyantly filled Freddy Mercury’s shoes brilliantly for Queen. Love him!