ABC Nonsense and Sensibility
3 December 2009
Xena seeks the truth from ABC
Everyone says they don’t want to read or hear anymore about the ABC/Adam Lambert cancellation scandal, so tell that to ABC who won’t let it go. Now it’s Jimmy Kimmel and New Years Eve! Does no one with the exception of Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg – have the biological male accoutrements to stand up to this tyranny? We need to know to whom we should direct our frustrations and ABC is not talking, yet they are the only ones who know the truth of the puppeteer.
Their spokespeople remain masked, their identity something of a security issue – fearful the Glambert Nation will cloak themselves in battle gear - their Manolos, eyeliner, false eyelashes, mascara, blue streaked hair, leather jackets, freshly manicured and pedicured – looking like Braveheart’s savage soldiers and march to battle – with their laptops and Blackberries! Fingertips flying as messages go viral – bio warfare.
For the moment, Xena has put down her weapons to seek the real foe, some coward who won’t face the inevitable gauntlet of her Truth Squad, actually not quite a squad or even enough to make a duet, she’s pretty much on her own, but fearsome nonetheless. Is it a network honcho, network shareholders, the wife of a network honcho – scratch that, she’d be a fan. Is it a sponsor or the FCC or one of those self important watchdog groups?
It is important to note that Adam Lambert is not the problem, merely the proxy for other issues to which we are not privy. What is ABC’s real problem? Ratings? Pressure from watchdog groups, the FCC? A Gokey fan in the boardroom? Clay Aiken called?
Why do we deserve the truth from ABC?
Because their decisions are interfering with our enjoyment of an entertainer’s performances. Because without a public airing, motives are left to speculation and the extent of the reach of the punishment is as of now undetermined. Does this blackball punishment fit the crime?
Which sponsor is holding a knife to their throats? If they let me know, I will summon my legions from across the universe to do battle with said sponsor. Adam’s acolytes and maenads will sound the alarm that a certain company is depriving its consumers of entertainment. If we are not handed a head on a platter, they might all lose them. List please.
Let’s set aside our own personal desires and reflect on the bigger picture for a moment. This seems to be an unprecedented ban of a single entertainer based on what? The accuser has yet to articulate their reasons. It’s not just consumers who should be aggrieved, but the entertainment industry itself – have you all gone on vacation? Ate too much turkey and pumpkin pie and are at a fat farm on some remote Pacific island with no power. That must be it. Show your faces, make a statement – are you afraid? Wait – do you all agree with ABC? – that’s it. Glad I figured it out.
In fact, ABC has vacated their authority by not telling the truth, but others have filled it and it’s not a pretty picture. The groups I investigated engage in anti-gay rhetoric and worse. Complaints about “simulated sex acts” are prefaced with “homosexual” – no grey for them. They can’t even be bothered to disguise their true concerns, in the Liberty Counsel complaint they say “homosexual conduct”.
Where will the next line be arbitrarily drawn? These lines are drawn in the sand, sans consultation, made-up on the fly – it could catch anyone. While Adam himself tripped across the line, is it his burden to seek clarity and fairness? No, he is merely the stand-in and it is ours; society’s collective conscience must wrestle with the bounds of restraint on entertainment. Who’s running this show?
Someone deserves a bonus!
Someone must be so proud of their accomplishment at losing the hottest performance ticket in television, they’ll be spending their Christmas bonus already – so big guy, get out from behind whatever skirt is protecting you and speak directly to your public – you know, all those people who would not have turned on ABC to watch Adam anyway. How many are they? When Adam did not perform on GMA, did they tune in to make sure he wasn’t there? Did they make up for the audience lost to CBS?
How about all that great media CBS got? Happy with yours are you?
There could be a Nobel in it someday, for the protection of children of absentee parents, who watch television at 1:30 am when they might see Adam Lambert performing fully-clothed in front of a band that is fully-clothed, the song “Whataya Want from Me”. Okay, so the spelling is phonetic and Xena usually complains about egregiously poor spelling, however we all make exceptions in the interest of art and self-expression.
Where’s the Truth Squad?
Good investigative journalists seem to be MIA in the Entertainment world, they’ve all gone paps on us, embarrassing photos are far more lucrative than investigation and fact-finding. They are quite good at tracking down mistresses, but we don’t need one of those.
Did you see that photo of Baby Suri in high heels? What are her parents thinking – what’s next, a stripper pole in the sand box? Can see it now – the next Miley Cyrus posing nude in Vanity Fair at sixteen, speaking of whom, did you know her dad is on the advisory board of the Parents Television Council? (see below)
Where are Adam’s colleagues???
To any professional entertainers out there – where are your voices?? First they came for him, you’re next. This is not about Adam; this is about censorship, fairly applied “rules”, the power of a self-appointed watchdog group with a few complaints and some strange vendetta by one network for about a minute of television by a single performance by a single entertainer, without explanation.
Other entertainers could refuse to replace Adam, but well, no, you see, he’s selling lots of CDs and you need the exposure, so really, it wouldn’t make any difference would it, to Adam that is? Besides it is our own Allison whom ABC has invited to replace Adam on Kimmel, so we won’t make a fuss – this time. Maybe Chris Brown will be the replacement next time?
Where’s ABC’s media release?
Xena always demands original documents for evidence and one would think that a large corporation like ABC would not risk being misunderstood or taken out of context and would put everything in writing. Also, by allowing Adam to tweet the news to his universe of followers, we can set the agenda and direction for this story – let’s do it people!! ABC has left a vacuum where there should be facts and details – here’s what I’ve found from ABC.
TV Guide “We decided not to move forward with the booking at this time,” an ABC spokesperson said of the scheduled Dec. 17 outdoor concert.
That has to be the flimsiest “explanation” yet on l’affaire Lambert. Maybe their media people refused to write a proper announcement, on principle – hah! Xena laughs contemptuously – not likely in this business – they think a principle is a person who runs a school.
Given the network’s state of high dudgeon inflaming their moral authority on all things Adam Lambert, no announcement is found on the front page of their website. Why are they playing peek-a-boo with the public? This must be a huge victory for someone at ABC – blow your horn!
(To our precious readers – if you find an actual document media release, please post it on the Salon, thank you.)
- They received a complaint from Liberty Counsel, a not-for-profit lobby organization and network of lawyers and law firms, affiliated with Liberty University, founded by Jerry Fallwell, and another self-appointed watchdog group, funded by tax deductible donations. Don’t you love how they spend your taxes? www.lc.org
Here is the media release from this group: http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=1066
From their letter of complaint:
“November 22, 2009 at 8:00 PM, EST, the American Broadcasting Company (“ABC”), a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, Inc., through its affiliated television stations, broadcasted the 2009 American Music Awards. While the show was aired across the country, this complaint is based upon the broadcast as shown in Lynchburg, VA on ABC affiliate WSET Channel 13 and in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on ABC affiliate WFAA.
“Alternatively, the Lambert performance was indecent. Broadcasting indecent conduct between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 1464 and 47 C.F.R. § 73.3999. The Lambert performance was aired on ABC affiliate WFAA Dallas/Fort Worth in the Central Time Zone before 10:00 PM.”
2. There’s a Facebook page set-up by one woman, devoted to getting a million people to complain – don’t know how well they are doing, but there are many comments opposed to their anti-gay campaign, but very little action. There might be a dozen denizens protecting your delicate viewing sensibilities. The rest are Adam supporters who signed-on and are doing splendidly in this verbal jousting tournament! We have nothing to fear from this group – the ground troops are in there.
Wonder how many of these complainants actually were sitting in front of a television watching the AMAs live, with or without a child in the room? It was Sunday and they should have been in Church.
3. The Parents Television Council
The self-appointed arbiter group, claiming one million members, called on their TV morality squad to storm the Bastille – if they did, they only mustered 1500 to do it. See below, where they issued a release claiming they did not demand ABC cancel Adam’s performances, leaving ABC out to dry.
“Parents’ Group Insists Adam Lambert Cancellation is an Overreaction”
Now, here’s a group who deserves a time-out in the corner during recess, while listening to those who did not make it to the Idol stage, sing. My ears hurt already.
What’s the FCC up to?
We don’t know. Silence in public so far.
Following up – I have placed a request with the FCC to learn the status of the Liberty Counsel complaint and when received, it will be posted here. We haven’t heard a peep from them and as a public institution of the U.S. government, any determinations they might make on this affair should be made public. If ABC has heard from them, they could always justify their actions with “We are just following orders”.
Numbers! For Data Junkies like Xena
What can we learn from a few numbers? Quite a bit and they always put some perspective in the picture.
- CBS Sweeps November, Fox makes big gains and ABC – second place. This is the measure by which advertising costs are calculated, hope all the hoopla over less than a minute of television makes up for those potential revenue losses from placing behind CBS. http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSTRE5B10FT20091202
- That “1500 complaints” figure has not varied in over a week, since ABC first announced it. A pathetic number to begin with, where’s the groundswell of complaints to justify the Draconian measure of removing Adam from their entire line-up, anytime, anywhere. The backtracking PTC claim one million members – this is the best they could do?
- Adam’s CD sold massively for the first week, coming in third. Pretty good for a three month effort of original music. Number One and Number Two – all covers and totally international. Adam is number one American in CD sales.
The potential effectiveness of the groups investigated is so minimal, that if they were enough to scare ABC into submission, we only need a small platoon of Xena’s warriors to send them scurrying into the hills for protection.
ABC must be held accountable for their decisions, as they are setting precedent and behaving like a kangaroo court – accuser, judge and jury – they have blackballed one single entertainer without evidence, without explanation, notification of the sentencing nor length of the punishment. There is no authority to which the accused can appeal. I repeat – who among those currently standing will be next?
In the absence of real information, rumours and innuendo will continue to fill in the blanks. If this is the true nature of the entertainment industry – I’m going back to the battlegrounds of politics and governments – at least there are some rules and loyalty, even for the scoundrels. And nosy journalists – where are Woodward and Bernstein when we need them?
All that time on the “Nonsense”, now just a few words on “Sensibility”. Adam Lambert, unbowed, is cheering up his fans, graciously taking whatever ABC hands him – sensibility. The other networks who have seen their opportunity and booked Adam for their own shows – you will be rewarded for your sensibility.
The Adam Nation knows dates, times and locations before even he does – sensibility.
Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg honestly speaking up on “The View”, which airs on ABC – sensibility. This princess warrior would follow these two into battle. Can’t forget Michael Sarver – already referenced in a previous posting – he has sensibility.
Dec 2 evening
adamlambert Yes, sadly friends, ABC has cancelled my appearances on Kimmel and NYE. don’t blame them. It’s the FCC heat.
adamlambert It’ll all blow over. Let’s focus on being positive!
adamlambert I AM doing Leno though. And lookin into something for NYE.
by John Young
Adam Lambert’s Dec. 17 outdoor concert on Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been canceled, an ABC spokesperson confirmed to EW. “We decided not to move forward with the booking at this time,” said the spokesperson, who wouldn’t comment on whether the cancellation had anything to do with the singer’s controversial performance at the American Music Awards last month on ABC. Lambert’s appearance on Kimmel was booked before the AMAs had aired.
Lambert’s rep told EW that the singer will now perform on The Jay Leno Show on Dec. 21 instead, but a rep for the NBC show was unable to confirm his appearance at press time.
“But Dan Isett, spokesman for standards organization Parents Television Council, insists the TV executives have been too harsh on the talent show star. He says, “I do think it’s a little bit unfortunate… The idea that he should be scrubbed from TV completely is not where we’re going. It may be a bit of an overreaction on ABC’s part.”
PTC Board of Advisors http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/aboutus/advisoryboard/main.asp
Xena is a writer, policy analyst and commentator who has an opinion on everything, and co-author with “Juneau” of the forthcoming book, On the Meaning of Adam Lambert – order at www.adamlambertbook.com