Adam Lambert | Barbara Walters | Kiss | Lady Gaga | News

ABC Gay Double Standard Continues with Barbara Walters Special


I hate to have to belabor this point because I'm really sick of it, but...for the record...

Last night on Barbara Walters' ABC special the network had no problem showing a clip of Lady Gaga in a lip-lock with a female dancer in her "Love Game" video (above), but when it came time to discuss Adam Lambert's performance at the American Music Awards in a segment following shortly thereafter, Walters said, "He also turned the music industry inside out, doing things we won't show you here."

Why not?

TMZ reports: "ABC says there is not even a trace of homophobia in the network's decision to 86 the Adam Lambert kiss from the Barbara Walters special last night. The network says, 'It was an editorial decision to show very little from the performance and focus on the fresh, new interview with Adam Lambert.' Interesting, because the 'fresh new interview' was all about 'the kiss.' ABC went on to explain its decision to show girl-on-girl by saying, 'The Lady Gaga kiss was used quickly in context of things that upset her father.'"


The Gaga kiss is just after the 2:42 mark. The Lambert segment is in the intro.

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  1. I'm so glad this bullshit double standard is finally being brought to light. I'm not a fan of Adam's in particular, but he's moved up a notch in my book for drawing attention to the blatant hypocrisy.

    Posted by: MMDD | Dec 10, 2009 9:31:34 PM

  2. And there you have it folks. It's OK to show a same-sex kiss as long as it's presented in the context of being "upsetting". In other words, as long as it is presented as demonstration of something that's supposed to be disturbing or disgusting then it's perfectly acceptable to show it on primetime TV. But heaven forbid that it's done in the context of being sexy or a normal display of sensuality, as it is with hetero kisses, THAT is unacceptable.

    Maybe GLAAD will step back up to the plate again to tell us how wonderful ABC is and why their latest insult to the gay community should be viewed as a great step forward in gay visibility and acceptance.

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 10, 2009 9:56:48 PM

  3. ?

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Dec 10, 2009 10:02:26 PM

  4. I am glad that he highlighted the double standard at first but I am really disappointed that he caved in such a major way. On Ellen and then again on the view he backtracks, makes excuses, and generally is contrite. He all but apologizes.

    I don't imagine Madonna or Lady Gaga offering up excuses like "i was caught up" and "i didn't mean to disrespect or offend." They would have stood by their expressions and stood firm on the double standard and hypocrisy. He would have been a rocker not a publicists' puppet. You have talent and you have a stage, you don't need to kiss up.

    Posted by: neruda | Dec 10, 2009 10:32:12 PM

  5. As I stated in Towleroad Guide to the Tube #581:

    According to ABC:

    "The network has a solid record of showing gay men and women in primetime which is why GLAAD has given ABC top honors for the positive portrayal of gays and lesbians for the past several years."

    TRANSLATION: It's OK for straight actors or actresses to be gay in a role but when it comes to the real thing, tolerance be damned.

    Posted by: CB | Dec 10, 2009 10:39:51 PM

  6. Adam is not particularly contrite, Neruda. Barbara asks, Do you regret doing it? And Adam says, No, no regrets. Later he says, Yes, I'm a homosexual. Deal with it. Is he kissing up a little? Sure, he's a smart guy and is careful how he's playing his cards, but he's hardly caving. Caving is someone who stays in the closet and takes no risks.

    As far as the double-standard goes, I thought it was telling that ABC showed Lady Gaga bloody and hanging--that's not offensive but Adam's performance wasn't suitable for replay? But at least they were both on, and they're both good role models for the little freaks and gay kids out there. I love that an 80 year old woman was highlighting 2 proud queers.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 10, 2009 11:28:14 PM

  7. Also, the "context of things that upset her father" is a bit murky, particularly when interspersed with other images of the often-pantsless Gaga. It's just assumed that her kissing a woman is one of the things that might upset him, but no one's talked to the man. Even according to the show, she and her father have since reconciled, but these clips were presented as a series of things that would upset ANY father. That's the crux of the matter for me. I'm as offended by the way they decided to include this in the show as I am offended by the exclusion of Lambert's innocuous kiss.

    NB - I am not against pantslessness in any way.

    Posted by: BGrey | Dec 10, 2009 11:29:55 PM

  8. Excuse, me, ABC, but when did Lady Gaga (love her) say that her father was upset that she likes women? She's on record saying he was upset when he came to a bar where she was performing in her skimpy underwear. You put in the women kissing (nice scene at that) to titillate your ratings. What hypocrisy.

    Posted by: Chuckjones | Dec 10, 2009 11:35:44 PM

  9. In fairness:

    Brothers and Sisters, Modern Family, Ugly Betty, One Life To Life all have 1 if not 2 out gay actors portraying gay characters. There may be other shows with actors/character of which I'm not aware.

    Better Off Ted has an out gay and out lesbian actor, each portraying a straight character.

    The View also had Rosie O'Donnell who though polarizing could not have been more out or more outspoken.

    I'm not defending ABC's response regarding Adam Lambert at all. They should be completely taken to task for their actions.

    In every instance I've seen, Barbara Walters has actually complained that she isn't being allowed to show the images of Adam kissing Tommy. On her show, in a special video with her producer and in an interview on David Letterman and on The View

    I don't know if Barbara Walters is lying or being misleading but she SEEMS to not actually support the fact that she isn't being allowed to show the shots of Adam.
    I don't live in her head so I can't say if she's being honest.

    But I do think it's important to give some props to the out gay actors and actresses on network television because everyone keeps saying it can't be done (and obviously there are real difficulties with being an out gay actor in the US) but there are men and women who are out and some of them actually portray gay characters as well.

    Posted by: Persa | Dec 10, 2009 11:45:11 PM

  10. I'm proud of Adam. ABC clearly wants him to apologize but I am glad he is standing his ground. He has explained until he is blue in the face how it happened and why. He says straight up I'm not a babysitter and I think anyone talking about the kids is a hoser. Do you think they will start talking about his music now?

    Posted by: Dupont | Dec 10, 2009 11:49:40 PM

  11. this is bullshit, huge double standard. People aren't threatened by female sexuality because it's been subjugated for so long. Two men however, well that could shake the foundations of society and blah blah blah- whats wrong with that, is this society so perfect? And where's GLAAD in all of this? Oh yeah, in some donor circle jerk....

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 11, 2009 12:17:30 AM

  12. It's crass, but Lezsploitation is marketable and titillating, while male-on-male eroticism is just treated as monstrous and shocking.

    Posted by: Gry | Dec 11, 2009 12:22:38 AM

  13. Okay... This is a little ridiculous... I'm all about standing up for being gay and blah blah blah. But come on, I believe there was a little more to Adam Lambert's performance on the AMA's that got him into a little hot water, than a little male-on-male kiss... Yes there is a double standard, but not every action that ABC takes to avoid the FCC should be used to portray them as not being gay friendly, give me a break. Maybe, it's because I'm not a Lambert fan

    Posted by: J Jinx | Dec 11, 2009 12:39:03 AM

  14. yeah it's sucks & all

    just wondering why someone like, oh say, Dan Choi isn't on Walters' list of most fascinating people of the year

    for all of his "radical" behavior, Lambert is actually the safe choice for the mass media to turn the spotlight on

    why? someone Choi is an issue-direct person, pursuing a very specific federal issue

    such things are a greater threat to the status quo than someone like Lambert

    we can argue about kissing & face in crotch rubbing till eternity & get ourselves worked into a frenzy, but none of it is relevant to the immediate, pertinent federal issues our community is facing

    I'm happy Lambert is out there doing his thing, but I always have a sinking feeling that the mass media is picking & choosing the bones we are supposed to be chasing

    just sayin'

    Posted by: steve | Dec 11, 2009 2:41:50 AM

  15. Adam's public statements on gay matters *are* pretty spineless. Consider his reply to a question about Eminem's description of Adam as a "fake-it": Adam says, "Well, you know, he used a word that's not necessarily very nice, but I'm sure he's got some sort of justification for it."

    Posted by: TCW | Dec 11, 2009 3:57:57 AM

  16. I was talking about the bisexual double standard years ago. Yet I got pilloried by members of the gay community for being paranoid. Now, I'm being proven right.

    There's a wing of liberalism that says girl-girl is hot and guy-guy is gross. Only now are we realizing the disgusting homophobia that is at the heart of this double standard.

    Barbara Walters is an ugly human being inside and out, and a great big hypocrite.

    Posted by: jason | Dec 11, 2009 3:58:41 AM

  17. Note how, after the American Music Awards, The View showed a clip of Britney kissing Madonna but only discussed Adam Lambert's kiss with a man. No man-man kiss was shown. The excuse given by The View's spokesperson was that the Britney/Madonna was well known.

    Now they've done another segment and again shown a female-female kiss (involving the seemingly fake bi Lady Ga Ga) but neglected to show Adam's man-man one. Another excuse has been forthcoming from The View's spokesperson, this being that the Ga Ga kiss was shown in the context of it "hurting her father". Yeah, right.

    The View belongs in the toilet bowl of television, along with Barbara, Sheree and Joy.

    Posted by: adam | Dec 11, 2009 4:02:37 AM

  18. If you hate to belabor the point, then DON'T. Clearly you don't hate to, because you keep on doing it. I for one, am sick of hearing about it. If you're going to report about it, fine. But don't pretend to be as sick of it as some of us are, because if you were, you just wouldn't post it.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 11, 2009 4:10:30 AM

  19. F**K ABC!

    Posted by: Paul | Dec 11, 2009 8:21:10 AM

  20. Although I think that Lambert's onstage antics with another male were much more suggestive that GaGa's (a head forced into a dance partner's crotch can be more offensive than a kiss) it still shows the hypocrisy of these networks. Bill O'Reilly often shows racey clips while he criticizes them and complains they are tasteless and offensive. He plays that Paris Hilton making love to a burger clip over and over while complaining that it goes too far. We all know O'Reilly is a sex pot behind closed doors (I can't shake the image of him and that loofa) but he tries to play it the other way while in public. Like most people of his ilk, he thinks he is entitled to have it both ways - just like most of the elite in media, politics, and religion.
    BTW, I have found that other than the above complaint, O'Reilly is nowhere as near as bad as the media makes him out to be.

    Posted by: Charels Roland | Dec 11, 2009 9:05:48 AM

  21. Ernie. Listen to Adam's hemming and hawing about the energy this and the moment that and how he didn't mean to offend or disrespect. It's all very contrite. Kudos to him for being out and for saying he has no regrets but he is certainly not standing strong by his work.

    It was an artistic statement (more so than that awful song) and he made all sorts of excuses for it instead of defending the legitimacy of what he did and why he did it and why the backlash is hypocritical. He started out strong but has then done nothing but make lame excuses. Ellen, Joy, and even Elizabeth Hasselback defended what he did better than he has recently. It seems like his publicist advised him not to take on ABC.

    Whatever they may or may not show on some of their programming, ABC's attitude towards the performance is nothing but homophobic.

    Posted by: neruda | Dec 11, 2009 9:21:02 AM

  22. @Jason: it is SO not just a "liberal wing" that finds girl-on-girl hot and guy-on-guy not. It is American society in general. Just as Matt says, it is because female sexuality is subjugated and frankly treated very cavalierly. This is a manifestation of misogyny: female sexuality dismissed as malleable and merely entertaining. Male sexuality is dangerous because it is all about penetration. And that makes people very uncomfortable and literally homophobic.

    Wow, I think I'm channeling Camille Paglia.

    Posted by: latebrosus | Dec 11, 2009 9:24:30 AM

  23. When people don't speak up and state that bullshit about "gay is not all I am" and "I don't have to display my sexuality all the time" this is what happens. The double standard being applied to Adam Lambert right now is another way the heterosexual world wants to suppress us. BE PROUD GAY PEOPLE!! Stop kowtowing to the straight world, homosexuality is an incredibly HUGE part of who you are and without it you would not be who you are or think as you do. Let the gay republicans be ashamed of themselves and apologize for who they are, the rest of us should stand up, fight and never let anyone tell us who we are or how we should act!!!!

    Posted by: Bobby | Dec 11, 2009 10:16:17 AM

  24. I just don't see the contriteness you see, Neruda, or the guilty apologies. When he says, No regrets, I take him at his word. I imagine he's tired of talking about it by now (I know I am!) and wants to move on. He'd probably stand by his performance more if it had been a great performance (vocally), but it wasn't and he knows it. The contrived media brouhaha has distracted attention from the fact that he can wow with his voice alone. He's handled himself much better than the powers that be at ABC.

    And Jason's reemerged from the Outback with "fresh" news of the liberal bisexual double standard! Yay! It's like old times here.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 11, 2009 11:39:22 AM

  25. Although I do agree that if ABC or any other station could show a female/female kiss, then they should equally be as comfortable showing a male/male kiss. However I think we should keep in mind that Lambert also went a step further in doing a fellatio re-enactment on stage that I don't think was appropriate. Maybe for his own concert, but not for mainstream TV. In his defense, he's young.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Dec 11, 2009 11:43:12 AM

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