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'Heat' From Christian Law Firm, FCC Behind ABC's Lambert Shut-Out

Janet Jackson escaped unscathed this time, but it seems that the FCC may have gotten on ABC’s case for airing “American Idol” alum Adam Lambert’s public displays of homoeroticism during his American Music Awards performance last month. A law firm associated with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell complained to the federal agency that ABC ought to be fined for airing Lambert’s “outrageously lewd” and “filthy” stage act.

Most likely, the “FCC heat,” as Lambert put it, caused the network to disinvite the singer from two other scheduled appearances on ABC programs: “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Dick Clark’s ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” On the other hand, Lambert’s risqué act, as well as his refusal to out-and-out apologize for it, no doubt played a part in landing him on Barbara Walters’ list for “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009” special, airing on Dec. 9 … on ABC. But, as the Los Angeles Times’ Maria Elena Fernandez points out, that show is pre-taped, so network fear of an AMA repeat would be unfounded in this case.

That said, wasn’t Jimmy Kimmel the guy who aired this little ditty about his fictitious romance with a certain Hollywood actor not two years ago on his own ABC show? (See video below.) Also, despite its name, most episodes of Kimmel’s show are pre-taped and air after 10 p.m., which means material that pushes the FCC’s definition of “decency” can be shown. According to Fernandez, the network, not the host, made the decision to pull Lambert from “Kimmel.” –KA

“Show Tracker” in the Los Angeles Times:

The “FCC heat” comes from a complaint filed by Liberty Counsel on Nov. 24 against ABC, demanding that the network pay a financial penalty “for airing such an outrageously lewd and filthy performance during a show and time period that is targeted for family audiences.”

In the complaint, Liberty contends that Lambert’s Nov. 22 performance was both obscene and indecent and urges that the FCC take action against ABC. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm that is closely tied to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and provides legal assistance in defense of “Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.”

Although ABC did receive about 1,500 complaints from viewers about Lambert’s highly sexualized performance, dozens of Lambert fans have been complaining about ABC’s decision to cancel Lambert’s “Good Morning America” interview and now the “Kimmel” performance. Many of those critics say Lambert is being targeted because he is a gay male, as Janet Jackson, who opened the American Music Awards, grabbed the crotch of a male dancer and went unscathed by critics.

The director of cultural affairs for Liberty Counsel told The Times today that his firm was not aware of Jackson’s performance.

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