November 17, 2009
This week, Out Magazine named Adam Lambert to their annual Out 100 list and even have him on the cover posing with Wanda Sykes, Cyndi Lauper and others.
But it turns out that's not the only coverage Lambert gets in the current issue.
In Aaron Hicklin's Editor's Letter (which you can read on the next page), Hicklin wonders if Lambert knew that his management laid down certain stipulations for Adam's cooperation in doing the interview including not making him look "too gay" in either the photos or the interview itself. (Adam is currently represented by 19 Entertainment, the creator of the Idol franchise and with whom every Idol contestant is initially under contract.) Hicklin also wonders if Lambert knew Out wanted him for the cover of the magazine before American Idol was even halfway over.
Michael Musto over at The Village Voice took the story and whipped up a post titled The Semi-Closety Marketing of Adam Lambert. That in turn led Queerty to write Adam Lambert's Dickhead Move in Negotiating His Out Cover. Once more details about Hicklin's letter came out, Queerty switched that inflammatory headline to Adam Nearly Refused to Appear on Out, BECAUSE IT'S TOO GAY which, given the facts of the matter, doesn't seem much better.
This is the same Adam Lambert whose recent cover for For Your Entertainment had everyone cackling over how campily gay it was, right?
Like most issues involving out celebrities this one is complicated. That being said, I'm pretty disappointed in how much of the gay media is covering all of this. Adam's first album comes out shortly and to be attacking one of the most famous gay musicians in the world right now over how gay he is in the press, doesn't seem like it's going to do much for the gay community in any respect.
If Adam succeeds and sells millions of copies, wins Grammys and so forth, don't we have an out gay icon the likes of which we've never seen? Don't we want the world to embrace an openly gay singer like Lambert?
And it's not as if Adam has been a closet case refusing to discuss his sexuality as the Out interview makes quite clear. So why the animosity from some quarters? Only they know for certain.
But I know a thing or two about trying to get out celebrities to do interviews and it's not always easy. There are certain folks I've tried to interview for AfterElton.com and for whatever reason, they've declined. Is it frustrating? Sure. But unlike some other publications, I don't feel gay celebrities "owe" me anything other than their performance if they are an actor, their music if they are a singer, and so forth.
And I find Hicklin's backstabbing of Lambert to be especially dismaying — and either slightly disingenuous or uniformed. After all, Lambert did do the Out cover and gave an interview that by all accounts is remarkably refreshing and candid. To include an Editor's Letter criticizing him in the same issue not only seems akin to inviting someone to dinner and hitting them in the face with a cream pie at the end, but frankly, also seems suspicious.
I can't help but wonder if Out didn't do this to generate controversy and more attention for itself. After all, Adam is about to release one of the most anticipated CDs of the year; what better way to get yourself noticed than to somehow create a controversy that involves your publication and hope the ensuing brouhaha gets everyone talking about you?
And if Hicklin or Out reporter Shana Naomi Krochmal really were bothered by the conditions Lambert's management placed on their interview, why didn't they pass? Lord knows I've had to do that.
Krochmal released a letter stating how shocked she was that as the publicist took her to meet with Adam that the she requested the interview not be "too gay" or "gay-gay" or to be political. As she should have, Krochmal made no promises as to what she would or wouldn't ask. But having been in this situation myself — both with straight and gay celebrities — I find all of this amazement over a publicist trying to shape a story to be rather disingenuous.
As for Lambert not doing the cover of Out while on Idol, I also tried to do an interview with Adam at that time and was told that once the audition episodes were over, none of the contestants could do individual interviews until after the finale. Why? So as to not give any one contestant more exposure — and possibly more votes — than another contestant. Either Hicklin didn't know this or decided not to mention it in his letter.
I would have been much more comfortable with Out's actions had they covered the topic in next month's issue, say, in a cover story about how often management of gay talent does work to keep their clients closeted — sometimes with the talent's consent. That's a topic worth discussing (and we have here), but bringing it up now and making it seem unique to Adam Lambert seems unfair at best.
I am now supremely bored with this whole subject, however here's what NYMag has to say about it. When Obama weighs in with his opinion, I'll let you know.