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