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Adam Lambert Says ABC Threatened To Sue Him Over 2009 AMA Kiss

Adam Lambert Says ABC Threatened To Sue Him Over 2009 AMA Kiss

Adam Lamber 2009 AMAs
Screenshot

The industry was the "wild west" at the time.

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In 2009, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert shocked the world with his performance of "For Your Entertainment" when he kissed a male member of his band on stage. All these years later, Lambert has revealed new details from the event.

In hindsight, the kiss seems a bit tame. At the time, an onslaught of controversy ensued. While accepting an award at the Sundance Film Festival's 2023 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala, Lambert says entering the industry as a gay man was like the "wild west."

"I did the kind of performance I had seen since I was a teenager," he shared in his acceptance speech. "I was kind of sexy, and had dancers on stage, and I did a couple of suggestive moves with a couple of dancers, and an impromptu kiss with my bass player. I was feeling it. Well, I got off stage and I got in trouble."

Adam Lambert-For Your Entertainment (American Music Awards 2009) HDwww.youtube.com

Not only did he receive backlash from viewers, but Lambert revealed that ABC threatened to sue him. "The network was like, 'How dare you?' They banned me for a while. They threatened me with a lawsuit. It was like, 'Oh, okay, that's where we're at.'"

It seems like Lambert did not expect the intensity of the pushback. "I didn't know. I'd been in a bubble in LA amongst artists, weirdos, and I didn't realize that that kind of thing would ruffle feathers the way it did."

Lambert currently stars in Fairyland, a coming-of-age story about a girl growing in the 1970s with two gay days. The film premiered at Sundance this weekend. Lambert knows firsthand how powerful visibility can be.

"Visibility is so powerful," he concluded. "The LGBTQ community has been under attack for a long time, are under attack again. There's a lot of conservative pushback, and making art that represents the queer experience and stars people. That gives the LGBTQ community strength...hope. It gives us inspiration. It makes us shed some of that shame and self-loathing that we grow up with. I'm so thrilled to be an artist in this time. We have a lot of challenges in front of us. It's not over yet. There's still work to be done, but I am just so proud of the work that's been done so far."


How long has Adam Lambert been with Queen?

Lambert has performed with the band since 2011.

When did Adam Lambert lose American Idol?

May 20, 2009.

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!