When his Good Morning America performance was cancelled last week, there was at least an air of reason to the decision. It may have been somewhat sheepish, but it’s hard to blame ABC for not wanting to run the risk of another “shocking” live performance on morning television. I didn’t get what all the was about over his AMA performance, but it’s also safe to say that a camp-loving gay man and the majority of conservative America will have radically different takes on what it takes to be “too gratuitously sexual” on television. Fine, America, you hate when nipples pop up during your Super Bowl Half-Time Shows, and fake oral sex and a gay smooch on a third-tier music awards show are also out of the question. Duly noted, now let’s all move on.
As I read on Celebitchy, though, we haven’t moved on, and ABC has now cancelled Adam Lambert’s performances on both Jimmy Kimmel Live and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which Lambert speculated on Twitter as a result of pressure from the FCC. Yet, as the Los Angeles Times observes and Queerty reiterated, both shows would broadcast late enough that Lambert’s performance would have to try damn hard to get the FCC to slap ABC with fines for indecency. So, with the FCC out, what else could it be?
On Monday Anne Sweeney, the co-chairwoman of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, said that ABC was re-evaluating its approach to live shows in the wake of Mr. Lambert’s act and would seek to ensure that artists’ performances more closely resemble their rehearsals. “We certainly don’t want to suppress artistry at any level, but we also have to be very cognizant of who our audience is,” Ms. Sweeney said in an interview with Reuters.
A spokesman for ABC’s entertainment division, which oversees “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” was not immediately available on Thursday morning.
So, in fairness to ABC, they haven’t yet responded to the Lambert situation, but they’ve also recently stated they’ll be making a more concerted effort to make sure their programming is agreeable with their audience? And I’m guessing that cancelling Adam Lambert’s performances is simply part of this effort? Without the threat of FCC fines, I think it’s about time we call bullshit on this whole charade and call it what it is: homophobia.
ABC has more of less black listed Lambert for the rest of the year on no grounds other than the fact that his AMA performance offended a portion of their conservative viewers; however, CBS’s Early Show later that week proved he can play more than the shock card though:
Added to that, ABC could sign off on his rehearsals beforehand, but they’d rather just save themselves the hassle and wash their hands of Adam Lambert all together. If this isn’t ABC “suppressing artistry” (which I don’t know how it’s not), then clearly it’s them being “very cognizant of who our audience is.”
It’s one thing if Lambert’s entire schtick as a performer was based on such overt sexuality, but The Early Show proves he’s willing to tone down his act for national television. If there’s been enough of a stir that ABC’s legitimately concerned that his simply appearing on their network would generate further public outcry, then I’m willing to bet that this audience is balking about the performer and not the content, which sounds to me like–in the case of Adam Lambert–ABC’s audience isn’t just morally conservative. They’re flat-out homophobic, and their bigoted views get reinforced when their ignorance can dictate a network’s programming decisions.
So in short, ABC, your audience sucks, and this whole situation suggests that you do too.