Adam Lambert opened up about his experience performing at the 2009 American Music Awards on ABC.
According to Lambert, the network temporarily “banned” him after he kissed a man onstage.
The singer decided afterward to “be as gay as I fucking can be” and “not back down.”
Adam Lambert opened up about his experience performing at the 2009 American Music Awards — and what he says was a negative reaction from ABC after he kissed a musician onstage during the telecast.
Lambert was accepting an award at the 2023 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala when he made the comments, according to Entertainment Weekly’s Patrick Gomez.
“I did the kind of performance I had seen since I was a teenager,” Lambert said of his 2009 performance. “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.” (The kiss occurs around the 3:28 mark in a YouTube video of the performance below.)
“I was feeling it,” the singer added.
But according to Lambert, ABC (which televised the awards show) had a less-than-positive reaction to his onstage kiss.
“I got off stage and I got in trouble. The network was like, ‘How dare you?’ They banned me for a while,” Lambert said, per EW. “They threatened me with a lawsuit. It was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s where we’re at.'”
The “American Idol” alum said that he “didn’t know” his flirtatious performance would rub some the wrong way.
“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 explained.
Representatives for ABC didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Lambert went on to say in his acceptance speech that he subsequently decided to “be as gay as I fucking can be,” regardless of the consequences.
“If it gets me into trouble, it gets me in trouble, but I’m not going to back down from it,” the singer said of his decision to be “flamboyant” and “wild.”
And despite ABC’s purportedly negative reaction, Lambert said that being a visibly queer performer helped him connect with even more fans.
“Over the past few years, I keep meeting more and more young people that saw me when we were a kid on TV and they’re like… ‘You helped me talk to my parents about being gay,'” Lambert said.
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