OUT Editor Rips Adam Lambert, Handlers for Homophobic Behavior


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


  1. DR says

    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?!?

  2. says

    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.

  3. Gregg says

    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.

  4. Mcihele says

    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.

  5. Feral says

    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.

  6. Seb says

    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.

  7. sharpbutterknife says

    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.

  8. JLM says

    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.

  9. allan says

    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.

  10. David says

    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),

  11. JohnInManhattan says

    “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:

  12. JLM says

    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!!!

  13. says

    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.

  14. Jay says

    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”…

  15. Matt says

    “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.

  16. mike says

    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?

  17. johnosahon says

    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.


  18. Perry says

    The Adam apologists are a scream—attacking Aaron Hicklin. What rubbish. I would doubt that Adam was aware of the details of his “handlers'” idiocy. I cannot imagine that he personally holds such views—he can’t be that delusional.

    I can only second the great comment left by Alex, and say I hope that Adam’s handlers “get over themselves.”

  19. FernLaPlante says

    I don’t get the fascination with Adam Lambert. I really don’t like his look or his music. I don’t care what he does I won’t be buying his albums.

  20. Liam says

    What’s pretty sad is that the writer admitted on her blog this morning that the handler took her outside, away from Adam, and asked this. He didn’t ask this, it was done in front of him.

    I can see calling out 19m on their handlers, but to act like Adam was the organizer of the whole thing is crass and unprofessional. The writer’s blog did a far better job of getting the point across without as poor of an attitude. Perhaps the editor should take some lessons from her on professional behavoir.

  21. BMF says

    I think the letter is extremely poor form. Maybe it’s a post-Maine stress reaction. I’m just not sure why you’d need to attack someone in this way that is actually trying to break barriers. Sigh . . . .

  22. Malo says

    Relax people, we don’t own him, you know. OK? Why is it that we have to make every out personality into a poster child for us? Give him time and space…it’s all very fragile still. Furthermore, who made him an activist? I will buy his record…he is a great singer.

  23. patrick nyc says

    I think Hicklin comes across as a real douche bag. He states in the letter that it was the record label and management that raised the issues, not Lambert. If that is the case did he protest to them? Threaten to not feature their client? Or at the least approach Lambert with his problem with them before hand?

    He sounds like a spineless schmuck. In fact he did none of the above, then he goes and puts Lambert on the cover, his name under the heading ‘HONOR ROLE’. So to bring this up in an editorial is not only unprofessional, it’s cowardly as well.

    I don’t watch Idol, nor do I buy that rag OUT. In this day and age with the net, anything they print is old before the ink is dry.

    I only heard of Lambert because of all the fuss over ‘is he or isn’t he’ from the media. I first heard him sing on a clip here from ANDY, while I have no plans to buy his music he is more listenable than the crap put out by Miley Cyrus or that shit by the housewife ‘Tardy to the Party’, people buy this shit?

  24. Phil says

    Hicklin says that he made a cover offer before American Idol was over, which would of course be the interview in which Adam officially comes out. Adam decided to do exactly that, but in Rolling Stone rather than Out magazine. Hicklin’s complaints are so OBVIOUSLY a case of sour grapes. I’m sure Hicklin has been carrying that grudge since then.

  25. Blake says

    I’ve worked under Hicklin in the past (never again), and I have to say that in my experience he IS the unprofessional ass/douchebag that people here have labeled him as. He was never involved in any of the work, despite being given the opportunity to have input, and then when it was all done to everyone’s satisfaction he threw a tantrum because he didn’t like it. The whiney tone of his letter is totally petulant and unprofessional. If these thoughts really were for Adam, why didn’t he address them to him PRIVATELY, instead of in a magazine? So much for the Brits having good manners…

  26. LMFAO says

    LOL, now I understand why so many gay stars hiding in the closet as long as they can. When you have your own comuunity backstabbing you left and right, who needs homophobs.

  27. L.P. Marcomb says

    The Details piece was enough of a putoff from Adam. I get embracing sexuality and having fun with your image and the public, but having your first big shoot all gropey and tonguue with a woman begged the question of where the hot licky spread is with a guy.

    OUT has been a magazine for twinky white boys that celebrate straight folks for so long I forgot people were reading it. We can do better.

  28. solidork says

    I don’t think he is assigning blame to Adam. He clearly doesn’t think Lambert knows that these sorts of decisions are being made for him by his publicists.
    For example: “We’re curious whether you know that we made cover offers”

    He does a pretty shitty job of making it clear what his beef is and who it’s with, I’ll give you that.

  29. qjersey says

    Just another example of how so much of the bullshit in the entertainment industry is generated by the behind the scenes idiots and hangers-on as well as the power brokers.

    Let’s not forget that Clive Davis practically blacklisted Kelly Clarkson for standing up to him and trashmouthed her 3rd album so badly that no one “dared” give it a good review.

  30. steve says

    well, considering half the interview was about him licking a girl’s twat, i wouldn’t put much stock in either him or OUT magazine

    it shows you what level his concept of “gay” is existing on… and the magazine printed the damn interview, so whatever

    takes two to tango & it seems like they’re both full of shit imo

    i think there are so many more gay men in this country far more worthy of accolades than Lambert, but the Glambots are out in droves today on this thread & i’m not going to convince anyone otherwise

  31. Janis says

    People putting down Adam for his handlers perspective are being turds. Adam did the Rolling Stone interview, has never pretended not to be gay, is very comfortable with his sexuality and this Hicklin guy is a loser!! Who puts someone in a magazine then bits their ass. Adam is a gorgeous, sexy, extremely talented man and has nothing to apologize for. Besides that his album is really fantastic!!!

  32. Phil says

    The plot thickens. AfterElton reports that “Adam is currently represented by 19 Entertainment, the creator of the Idol franchise and with whom every Idol contestant is initially under contract.” So Adam gave an interview with OUT which was, by all accounts, honest and open. Yet legally, he has no choice but to work with the publicists at AI’s franchise company, 19 Entertainment, at least initially.

    Yet knowing that Adam can’t choose his record label at the moment, this is Hicklin’s assessment: “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.” Hicklin is a hypocrite with a grudge.

  33. Bill says

    Aaron Hicklin is the same guy who wanted Johnny Knoxville on the cover of Out instead of Lance Bass because according to him coming out was so tired. Along with that information and the fact that Out rarely puts gay people on the cover Aaron has no credibility.

  34. James says

    I see nothing wrong with the editors decision to say what he said. What some of you may not know is that the editor doesn’t always get to have things his way. I myself don’t care for Adam and could honestly give a s less if he was in the magazine or not. If he turns out to be popular it’s only because idiots like the people here bashing the editor have decided to help the poor boy out. I’m gay and I find nothing offensive about what the editor had to say. Adam has a say in things, let’s not believe otherwise. Oh and those of you who says that’s horrible to have gays hate on gays, get real you do it every single day when you judge others like you are the editor.

  35. J.D. says

    I have always wondered where the self-appointed spokespeople for the gay “community” come from, and how they coalesce an agenda without any effort to gather a consensus from me or my gay friends. Gay magazines are no more morally authoritative than propaganda like Time or National Review. I don’t want to get married, and I sure don’t want to become a trained killer and fight illegal genocidal wars for the military, yet Gay “leaders” and publications insist this is normal for us. Chastising a novice negotiating the perilous vagaries of the entertainment business over style matters seems ridiculous to me. The man had the courage to come out on the threshold of his fame without Out magazine’s or anybody else’s help, can’t we continue to admire that? Established multimillionaire stars with clout still hide in the closet.

  36. E Alan says

    I’m not an Adam Lambert fan, and I’m a casual, at best, follower of Out, but this situation is some catty mess. I can’t believe Hicklin reacted in such a tacky way, however he was feeling about the situation. This seems like something I’d see on Queerty or Perez, not one our remaining mainstream gay Mags. This is not a good look Mr. Hicklin.

  37. nik111 says

    Aaron- How could you possibly complain about Mr, Lambert when he’s on your cover. What a slap in the face to him. Give Adam a break. He doesn’t need to fit your mold of what he should or shouldn’t do. You’re such a freaking hypocrite. Why should Adam be the poster boy for your satisfaction. Just allow him to be who he wants and have great success. Which flies in the face of jerks like you.

  38. el polacko says

    odd bit of irony here since i cancelled my subscription to ‘out’ years ago since the mag was full of nothing but str8 people who either played a gay character or just ‘liked’ us..ugh.
    adam, whether being directed by his handlers or not, has given a series of interviews broadly hinting at his not really being gay..the latest in which he relates having gone down on a woman. i guess this helps him sell cds to teen girls, but it does not, in my view, make him any sort of gay icon.

  39. Mark Fischer says

    What gives with “professional queers” who can’t deal with people who are openly LGBT but don’t want “queer” to be the headline for everything they are and do? I am an openly gay and HIV+ man but those are only minor elements of my total personality just as they would be if I were straight and HIV-. I am multi-dimensional and multi-talented. I would not want my epitaph to read “HE WAS GAY” because it is just too simplistic and superficial. Yet, I get the feeling some of these folks would choose that for theirs. For nearly 40 years since I came out, I have fought social efforts that would pigeon hole or define me based solely or primarily on my God-given sexual orientation. I’ll be damned if I am going to let some obsessive-compulsive professional queer do so! If folks want being LGBT to be the headline of their life story, that is their choice. However, that does not give them the right to force that same choice down the throats of others! I find the effort to do so indicative of individuals who are so insecure that they need to be surrounded by a large group of, preferably famous, LGBT folks to prove to themselves they have worth and legitimacy. Coming out is about becoming self-affirming and independently secure. Sounds to me like the Editor of OUT still has one foot in the closet of personal insecurity … or is it a fat head from an over-sized ego?

  40. Clarknt67 says

    Being in the magazine biz myself, I assure you celebrities always come with difficult handlers. ALWAYS. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. They exist to bitch and moan about every little thing. I assure you I could tell you many stories, but as I’m a pro, I don’t (except maybe to my close friends over cocktails).

    Hicklin is an idiot and completely unprofessional to trash Lambert, after accommodating him. He’s not a lick better than Lambert and his handlers.

    Apparently he wasn’t so offended by this behavior he was willing to sacrifice the potential newsstand sales Lambert’s appearance would ensure. He just wants to whine about it afterward.

  41. post script says

    Hicklin omitted from the piece and the letter that the “homophobic” handler is gay. He tweeted that the day after the drama. Idiot not even thinking through his revelation. Not only does it change the narrative but begs the question WHY AREN’T YOU OUTING THE GAY HANDLER, HICKLIN?

Leave A Reply