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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.

Yesterday’s news

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.)

Who’s complaining?

  1. 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?

Here is the media release from this group:

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.”

Full letter:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Dec 2

Adam Lambert’s ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ performance canceled

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.

Nov 25

“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

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

59 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    December 3, 2009 7:53 pm

    Xena I would like to volunteer for your army of warriors. Like you I am beyond baffled at this treatment of Adam Lambert by ABC. It isn’t as if the rest of the AMA’s were Mary Poppins – right from the start there were provocative and sexually charged performances, Adam’s just happened to be the only one that was gay (and it aired the latest). So what? If ABC is in like Flynn with GLAAD (as both said in another statement issued today) for their positive portrayals of gay role models in their programming then why should Adam be a problem? I don’t understand, it is so frustrating to not get any answers about why this is happening.
    Are other entertainers not showing public support just because he came through the much-disdained American Idol? Can they not see that this performance was certainly a giant step AWAY from the whole Idol image and that his level of talent sets him apart?
    Adam will prevail, his fans will prevail, those who are willing to be sensible and stand up and be heard in supporting him will prevail. That has to be so or my faith in the land of the free and the home of the brave will be severely shaken.
    In listening closely to the lyrics of many of the songs on his CD it is almost scary how closely they mirror what is happening to him.
    Start with
    “You make me want to listen to music again”
    followed by
    “I bet you thought that I was soft and sweet, thought an angel swept you off your feet, but I’m about to turn up the heat, I’m here for your entertainment”
    then the pleading reply to the uproar:
    “Just don’t give up, I’m workin’ it out, please don’t give in, I won’t let you down. It messed me up, need a second to breathe, just keep coming around, hey, whataya want from me?”
    or “Have you lost your way, living in the shadow of the messes that you made, and so it goes, everything inside your circle starts to overflow, take a step before you leap into the colors that you seek….” from Aftermath
    I want oto see him STRUT through this and come out the other side a SURE FIRE WINNER “‘Cause all the girls and boys wanna know how far this bad wild child’s gonna go”
    Little could Adam have known that his Citizen Vein song “Crawl Through Fire” was exactly what he was going to do in the start of his career. But he will come through it and I for one will still be here, ready and willing to take on any battle on his behalf.

    • December 4, 2009 12:13 am

      Thanks Susan, I love your song references, found them kind of soothing and uplifting at the same time. We all seem to be Crawling Through Fire these days don’t we?


  2. USExpat permalink
    December 4, 2009 12:09 am

    OK I have written my letter, mailed my CD–but what disturbs me more than ABCs actions are the actions of GLAAD. They totally wussed out in their support of Adam. They say that ABC’s actions are not motivated by homophobic sentiment–ABC is merely slapping the hand of a misbehaved singer. Without homophobic furor the performance wouldn’t have even been noticed. Anyway, the organization is at and the email of the president is if any of you agree with me.

  3. Rocker_Girl permalink
    December 4, 2009 12:09 am

    Xena, so glad I found this blog and that you want to take action. I share this view and have book marked this site and will check back for updates. Yesterday as all this unfolded I was really mad. I have already called the FCC and talked to a gal there. I have emailed the FCC with my viewpoints supporting Adam and I have sent emails to as many email address I can find on the contact us page for ABC. I have also made some phone calls. In addition, I have posted my thoughts on several Adam fan forums hoping some others would also take some action. We just need to remember to be polite, especially to the government, yet persuasive in our support for Adam so we don’t make him look bad

    Here is some info I have compiled and perhaps there can be a link/s contact section in your blog?

    1-888-225-5322 FCC
    Send an email to – the lady I spoke with said this email goes directly to the investigators.
    or, go to and fill out form 2000F
    212-456-7777 Ann Sweeney hot shot at ABC

    Perhaps we can also make a tiny link and twitter this call to action. Especially if we can get some contact links as part of this.

    I hope others will join in. I also saw an ABC sponsors post on AO today. Maybe we can compile a contact list here too so everything is in one place. I plan to also start contacting sponsors to simply say that where Mr. Adam Lambert goes, my money and “eyeballs” will follow. We know how advertisers like viewers.

    Then, we need to get this info blog to the forums and hopefully people will read this and help take action and be heard.

    Here is my overview that I have been posting about my feelings:

    ABC promoted Adam’s appearance as “outrageous” and “something everyone will be talking about tomorrow” throughout the AMA broadcast? Seems to me ABC got exactly what they expected. And after all the other risqué numbers that night, my only surprise is that anyone would have thought Adam’s performance would be anything but risqué.

    ABC used him for ratings (over 24 million viewers, best since 2002 and ONLY 1500 complaints, what is that less than one percent) as Adam has a large following, and then dumps him like this. Well, hopefully other performers are taking note – because tomorrow it could be them! This is what happens when an 800 pound gorilla is in charge. The little people have to band together for the cause lest we all get squashed.

    Adam didn’t commit any crime and this is way out of hand. I think ABC is promoting bigotry, prejudice and double standard. They used Adam to get ratings and then dump him like this citing the FCC as a reason. I called the FCC and the person I spoke with said that while they can make sanctions (and I don’t even know if in fact there are going to be any) that the FCC does not control or dictate network programming. Therefore, it is not the FCC that is saying Adam cannot be on the network. I have also sent a polite and business like letter to the FCC in support of Mr. Lambert.

    In regard to a risqué performance or “kids show” perhaps after the opening act where Janet Jackson grabbed the male dancer’s crotch blatantly, to another performer coming on stage with the dance troop and rifles in hand, to another performer and her dancers doing air pelvic trusts, to another performer humping the microphone, to another performer breaking whiskey bottles on a piano, to another performer talking about how there were something like 18 rapes under his belt and murder, to…. a parent or prude might have had a clue that it was full of adult content. And Adam came on last! He was caught up in the moment after seeing his piers and while risqué, was not anything that hasn’t been done before. Parents are responsible or their children, not Adam or the AMA’s. And if you are a prude, then you should not have been watching that show as the whole thing was risqué and/or filled with violent undertones.

    A lot of people don’t even watch TV anymore, and especially not network shows. I will not be watching ABC and have let ABC know that their prejudice is outrageous. I am the mother of a son Adam’s age and would not want this hate targeted to anyone. All this is doing is proving ABC is a bigot and illustrating vividly their double standard. Adam will be around because he has a huge fan base and mega talent that will prevail. I will be supporting Adam with my pocket book and NOT supporting ABC or its sponsors.

  4. danielle permalink
    December 4, 2009 3:23 am

    I really think the folks at ABC are trying to cover up their mistake, and placing the blame on Adam.
    If you look back at the exact time he grabs the guy’s head the audio is cut out, but why there was nothing wrong with the lyrics. You would think the act itself was what they wanted to cut out.

    I think someone messed up big time and pushed the wrong button and the cowards that they are won’t own up to it.
    It seems the 7 second delay worked on the west coast so what happened on the east?

  5. carol permalink
    December 4, 2009 7:28 am

    Thank you for this absolutely great article. I love to read anything that you write. I agree that there seems to be a witch hunt. Is it ABC who is running scared or what. No one gives an anwer but Adam has been nothing but kind and humble with each interview, not blaming ABC but I think the rest of us are pretty sick of ABC’s “tirades” Bravo to CBS and NBC. No one is going to hold this guy down. He is the best entertainer and vocalist to come along in decades. I for one has his back. With an old saying, mama bears claws come out when one of hers is attacked. Thanks again

  6. 2t2tag permalink
    December 4, 2009 4:20 pm

    it’s all about money,money,MONEY!!! advertisers getting nervous about their products being associated with ??????? great article, xena. right on, all of the right questions and directions. we need answers, we need for our voices to be heard. and what louder way to be heard than through the only language they understand. MONEY! there are lists of products to be boycotted, channels not to be watched, shows to be avoided, complaints to be made about ABC,theFCC, the LIBERTY COUNSEL, and all of those who lend their voices to control and censor us and our artists. adam will succeed, he is famous and he will continue to be loved. we will see to that.

  7. oracle permalink
    December 4, 2009 5:17 pm

    we must stop the ayatollas of this country from dictating to us what we can and cannot watch. and the fatwa must be lifted from adam’s head immediately!!! albeit an economic fatwa, it is one that incites hate and bigotry and violence, and must be stopped. we must call for and end to it today!!

  8. ovationimpact permalink
    June 6, 2011 1:49 pm

    This AML ABC performance cancellation story, after all this time, still has me perplexed by the reasoning behind ABC’s banning actions toward Adam Lambert and by their early morning shows replacement with Chris Brown who continues to be booked by ABC to this day even after his most recent physical display of anger and violence on the ABC set. Hence after all of his philanthropic work the ban by ABC story continues to be a defining preamble over and over again by reporters who I assume thinks that it adds interest to their Adam Lambert articles… what is up with that? … Okay so what is it that the children are being protected from and learning again?

    This story has so many levels of drama hinged by hypocrisy with several twists and turns it should be the basis to spark a calibration between fearless investigative reporters and documentary makers. On opening night of the documentary world premiere Glamberts could take to the streets outside an ABC building on the east and west coast… just think of the sign content creativity and to be enjoyed by the worldwide Glamily.

  9. annehedonia permalink
    November 19, 2011 8:55 pm

    Humm.. I fumed just a little when I noted how ABC is now being all obsequious, hoping to catch a little glitter-by-proxy in the wake of Adam’s buzz-creating collaboration with Queen. No ethics, no standards, no integrity – only opportunistic b.s. I’m just glad it’s in Adam’s favor this time.

    • November 19, 2011 9:46 pm

      So am I! This happened two years ago! ABC won a GLAAD award last year – thought that was interesting. They must have bought a lot of tickets.

      How nice to see everyone has kissed and made-up; Adam & Hicklin, Adam & ABC, Adam & AMA’s, Adam & Dick Clark?. Lucky for them, he was able to overcome the obstacles they threw down and succeed without their help.


      • annehedonia permalink
        November 20, 2011 7:25 am

        “Lucky for THEM” is the operative phrase. I imagine that each of those honchos and/or concerns is and has been concerned solely with one thing: their own aggrandizement and their bottom line. No surprise there – I’m not naïve about how the world of commerce operates, for the most part. But how distasteful, really…

        Lucky for THEM Adam had the TALENT, the drive, the work ethic, the business acumen, the charm and whatever else it took to overcome pariah status. …achieved purely through strength of character, self-belief, and honest-to-god ability.

        Lucky for US to be presented with his example.


  1. Adam Lambert Daily Update – June 6, 2010 « On the Meaning of Adam Lambert

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