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OUT Editor Rips Adam Lambert, Handlers for Homophobic Behavior

OUT magazine editor Aaron Hicklin has slammed OUT 100 honoree Adam Lambert, who appears on the magazine's cover, and his handlers for being wary of having the singer appear on the cover and in the pages of OUT, or at one of the magazine's parties, for fear of being perceived as "too gay."

Out100 Michael Musto reports that Hicklin told him "Adam's people were reluctant to let him appear on the cover. They only let it happen if it was a group shot, preferably including someone straight...Out was urged not to make Adam too gay in the shot...They were also informed that Adam probably wouldn't be able to attend an Out 100 event because they didn't want to jeopardize his record sales."

Writes Hicklin in the editor's letter for the issue:

"We’re curious whether you know that we made cover offers for you before American Idol was even halfway through its run. Apparently, Out was too gay, even for you. There was the issue of what it would do to your record sales, we were told. Imagine! A gay musician on the cover of a gay magazine. What might the parents think! It’s only because this cover is a group shot that includes a straight woman that your team would allow you to be photographed at all — albeit with the caveat that we must avoid making you look “too gay.” (Is that a medical term? Just curious). Luckily, you seemed unaware that a similar caution was issued to our interviewer.

"Perhaps we should have had you and Cyndi in a tongue lock. That would be radical. It’s odd, because this magazine has done covers with Pete Wentz and Lady Gaga — getting straight men and women to do Out is easy these days. It gives them cred. Getting gay stars like yourself is another matter. Much easier to stick you in Details, where your homosexuality can be neutralized by having you awkwardly grabbing a woman’s breast and saying, “Women are pretty.” So are kittens, Adam, but it doesn’t mean you have to make out with them. Imagine how much more radical it would have been to go down on a guy instead of that six-foot Barbie. We don’t think you would have a problem with that — why should you? — but your record label would, and letting them dictate the terms is the very opposite of rock ’n’ roll. And did you read the article? You would think your entire fan base was made up of women and heterosexual men, or “straight dudes” as the writer describes them, just so we can all be clear. No mention of your gay fans, which is kind of disappointing, don’t you think, given what your success represents?"

Lambert2 Much of Lambert's interview in the magazine centers around his comfort with being out and open about his sexuality, but also the decision he made about when to reveal it on American Idol:

"It’s a hard thing that everybody’s gonna have their opinion about. You know? Some people in the gay community might look at it like, 'You really should’ve owned that. You didn’t hide it, but you didn’t admit it and that’s weak.' My whole point is, I’m not trying to lead the fucking way for the civil rights movement that we’re in right now. I just happen to be a gay man -- and I’m not ashamed of that at all. Regardless of how I handled it, it became a huge issue. And I knew it would. So I figured, you know what, I’m just not going to label myself, I’m going to own the pictures, I’m going to get past it and just keep being myself on the show. And then I waited until after because I was finally given the opportunity. I mean, on the show, we’re not really [allowed to talk to press]."

UPDATE: The writer who interviewed Lambert, Shana Naomi Krochmal, defends Hicklin and discusses the requests from Lambert's handlers.

Read Hicklin's full editor's letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

*****

Dear Adam,


I like you, I really do. Although I’d never watched American Idol, I became a fan this year thanks to your unapologetic flamboyance and sexual swagger. It was refreshing to see someone playing by his own rules among so many cookie-cutters. And although you narrowly lost to Kris Allen, you were the real winner for those of us who saw your success as a test of America’s growing tolerance. That’s why we’re proud to have you in this year’s Out 100, along with all the other men and women who don’t believe their sexuality should be a barrier to success. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that your record label and management don’t share the same view.

We’re curious whether you know that we made cover offers for you before American Idol was even halfway through its run. Apparently, Out was too gay, even for you. There was the issue of what it would do to your record sales, we were told. Imagine! A gay musician on the cover of a gay magazine. What might the parents think! It’s only because this cover is a group shot that includes a straight woman that your team would allow you to be photographed at all — albeit with the caveat that we must avoid making you look “too gay.” (Is that a medical term? Just curious). Luckily, you seemed unaware that a similar caution was issued to our interviewer.

Perhaps we should have had you and Cyndi in a tongue lock. That would be radical. It’s odd, because this magazine has done covers with Pete Wentz and Lady Gaga — getting straight men and women to do Out is easy these days. It gives them cred. Getting gay stars like yourself is another matter. Much easier to stick you in Details, where your homosexuality can be neutralized by having you awkwardly grabbing a woman’s breast and saying, “Women are pretty.” So are kittens, Adam, but it doesn’t mean you have to make out with them. Imagine how much more radical it would have been to go down on a guy instead of that six-foot Barbie. We don’t think you would have a problem with that — why should you? — but your record label would, and letting them dictate the terms is the very opposite of rock ’n’ roll. And did you read the article? You would think your entire fan base was made up of women and heterosexual men, or “straight dudes” as the writer describes them, just so we can all be clear. No mention of your gay fans, which is kind of disappointing, don’t you think, given what your success represents?

We don’t want to sound ungrateful — you agreed to do our cover, and your interview is gracious and frank — but if the Out 100 has a purpose it’s to challenge the kind of apartheid that lays down one rule for gay mags and one for all others. We think you probably feel the same way — you even say as much — so we don’t mean to diminish your achievements this year. That’s why you’re in this issue. You’re a pioneer, an out gay pop idol at the start of his career. Someone has to be first, and we’re all counting on you not to mess this up. You have to find your own path and then others can follow. We just hope it’s a path that’s honest and true and that you choose to surround yourself with people who celebrate your individuality. The irony is that right now it would be easier to get Kris Allen to do a solo cover shoot for us. But only because he’s straight.

Aaron Hicklin, Editor in Chief

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Comments

  1. The more exposure about his true personality I get, the less inclined I am to give him my money. Out magazine is "too gay"? Adam, have you SEEN your album cover?!?

    Posted by: DR | Nov 17, 2009 12:12:03 PM


  2. Hmmm, Despite his disagreement with Adam's "handlers," Hicklin still made the decision to put him on the cover. He could have very well told them "my way or the highway" and then written a sidepiece as to why Adam did not appear anywhere in their "class of 2009" issue, making a more legitimate case for his gripe. Instead, he chose magazine sales over integretiy, kind of like Adam. Hypocrisy at its finest.

    Posted by: Keith | Nov 17, 2009 12:14:35 PM


  3. Hicklin sounds like an ass. His magazine put Lambert in the Out 100. And then he chastises Lambert in a public letter in the very same magazine? That shows a huge lack of class on Hicklin's part. If he was so disappointed, Hicklin should have pulled Lambert from the Out 100. But no. Out seems all too happy to use celebrities to boost sales, but there is no backbone there. Surprise surprise.

    Posted by: Gregg | Nov 17, 2009 12:21:00 PM


  4. Not to mention how much of that came from his handlers, who exist in a homophobic music industry led by greed? Perhaps he should have given an ounce of benefit to Lambert that his handlers acted this way - NOT HIM.

    Posted by: Mcihele | Nov 17, 2009 12:21:09 PM


  5. DR, exactly! Adam's album cover is gayer than a room full of Bette Midler queens lipsyncing to her Live at Last album in unison.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 17, 2009 12:21:33 PM


  6. Calling Adam out on this is weak, and catty. As if he has *any* say in what press to do? That's laughable. Is Hicklin really that ignorant of the music industry? Give the kid a break already. Jeez.

    Posted by: Feral | Nov 17, 2009 12:26:32 PM


  7. Let him find his own path then Aaron, rather than carping at what seems like a very narrow definition of what's an "honest" one. If I were Adam, I wouldn't bother with OUT again.

    Posted by: Seb | Nov 17, 2009 12:26:59 PM


  8. Umm... Hicklin does realize that it isn't mandatory for Lambert to do a cover on his magazine at Hicklin's beck and call? Lambert was amazingly honest and oversharing in the in depth interview he did in your magazine... he isn't ashamed about being gay... period. Now as for his handlers, yeah they are playing it a bit safe, but that is their instinct... and they and everyone else knows there is no way they are going to "re-closet" Adam. Give Adam a chance to get a solid start to build a foundation of fans when his first album comes out so he can let his music do the talking, not his sexuality.

    Posted by: sharpbutterknife | Nov 17, 2009 12:29:59 PM


  9. Adam is very articulate, honest, lovely man and anyone who doesn't like him because he is "too" gay is having a personal issue. Adam's album is streaming on MYSpace and it is Kick ASS Great!!! If you can't handle Adam's candor and unfiltered, on your sleeve, way of being - too bad!!! Adam is a totally gorgeous, sexy, mega talented man-your loss friends.

    Posted by: JLM | Nov 17, 2009 12:32:53 PM


  10. Sorry to hear that Adam's handlers were so difficult, but I don't think Aaron Hicklin's in a position to get so gay huffy. OUT virtually never puts anyone openly gay on the cover anymore, let alone anyone non-Caucasian. The gays and non-whites get dumped once a year on an OUT 100 group cover -- it's a ghetto.

    Posted by: allan | Nov 17, 2009 12:35:16 PM


  11. Build them up and up and then destroy them and then if they have it in them you let them crawl back up. So typical why aren't I surprised.

    Posted by: Antny | Nov 17, 2009 12:35:44 PM


  12. Ditto of what Keith and Gregg wrote.

    Preach by example, Hicklin.

    Posted by: Felix | Nov 17, 2009 12:36:08 PM


  13. Last time I buy OUT. Attacking someone who is bolstering their aims, completely exploiting him. Gays attacking gays. Hicklin doesn't deserve my money. Adam does.

    Posted by: JH | Nov 17, 2009 12:36:57 PM


  14. Dear Aaron,
    If you're going to capitalize on the success of a gay man by putting him on your cover (and table of contents, and as the lead picture in the article, and on your website, etc.), don't rag on him for how it went down. If you had a little more integrity, you would let your values guide your editorial decisions and you would have put your foot down. Who is guilty here? Adam's representatives for making demands or you for capitulating to them?
    Shame (not pride),
    David

    Posted by: David | Nov 17, 2009 12:38:17 PM


  15. "You’re a pioneer, an out gay pop idol at the start of his career. Someone has to be first, and we’re all counting on you not to mess this up."

    Sadly, no:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPLrXFw76Qg

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Nov 17, 2009 12:38:43 PM


  16. This Hicklin dude is a total jerk. Could care less about that loser. Adam is a classy man, just being himself and it isn't required that he go on this magazine or anyone elses. Adam has confidence and self assurance about his sexuality, his talent and himself as a creative artist. He doesn't belong to any one else!!!

    Posted by: JLM | Nov 17, 2009 12:39:45 PM


  17. If Adam is not pro-gay ...why Hicklin has decided to put him in the cover of the magazine?

    Posted by: marica rabiosa | Nov 17, 2009 12:41:36 PM


  18. Hicklin needs a big tall glass of shut the fuck up. They're acting like Lambert is the first time they've dealt with difficult handlers. They're ALL difficult. It's their job to steer what they consider to be the best interests of their clients. And 90% of the time the talent has no idea what is happening.

    Even if Lambert was a difficult monster, he agreed to do their magazine and will generate sales for them.

    As for coming out on Rolling Stone instead of Out... well, clearly this speaks for itself. You've got an editor stabbing his own talent in the back and subsequent letters popping up now from the writer basically saying "but he started it!"

    Maybe he didn't want to appear on Out because it's a bad magazine.

    Posted by: Chad | Nov 17, 2009 12:43:05 PM


  19. The interviewer has added her two cents about Lambert's handlers.

    She was asked not to bring up the then-impending Equality March and not to to make the the interview "too gay" or "gay-gay"...

    Posted by: Jay | Nov 17, 2009 12:46:22 PM


  20. "They were also informed that Adam probably wouldn't be able to attend an Out 100 event because they didn't want to jeopardize his record sales."

    Makes me not want to buy the album now.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 17, 2009 12:46:56 PM


  21. Hicklin should resign.

    Posted by: amA | Nov 17, 2009 12:49:08 PM


  22. If Adam Lambert is the best pop music can come up with, then may it R.I.P. As for Hicklin the Hypocrite--besides being a whiny, pain-in-the-ass, what the hell have you done for ANY of us lately?

    Posted by: mike | Nov 17, 2009 12:49:20 PM


  23. And the strange, uninteresting fetish with all things Adam Lambert continues...


    Posted by: AERES | Nov 17, 2009 12:52:43 PM


  24. I've been accused of being Too Gay for so many years that I am proud to join such people as Ellen, who was labeled Too Gay by Entertainment Weekly. Looks like it really hurt her.

    Posted by: Dan Farrell Davis | Nov 17, 2009 12:55:16 PM


  25. Aaron Hicklin is a FOOL, and very unprofessional. So after getting adam's interview and picture, you decide to abuse him, if it was such a big deal, you should have excluded adam from the list.

    why do i think you are trying to sell mags by creating a FAKE ASS outrage.

    DUMB ASS.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Nov 17, 2009 12:57:55 PM


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