Sunday night the American Broadcasting Company aired the American Music Awards over the public airwaves. The American Music Awards, which is produced by Dick Clark Productions, is becoming less notable for the actual awards handed out to talented music artists and becoming more notable for the inappropriate highly sexualized performances and theatrics of certain artists. This year the media buzz and public conversation is centering on the obscene and vulgar performance by American Idol runner up Adam Lambert. Adam Lambert’s performance featured simulated oral sex with one dancer and an open mouth kiss with a musician and crotch grabbing (both his own and his dancers'). According to press reports, Adam Lambert planned a “sexy” performance but he crossed the line far into indecency. This is unacceptable for a program that was rated TV-14 L and broadcast on the public airwaves before 10 pm EST.
It is important to note the time because it is “a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours”. The American Music Awards was laced with profane language but the media buzz and public conversation has centered most on Lambert’s indecent performance. Youth tend to be more acceptable of most programming they see on television because they are for the most part, not mature enough to perceive the impact of certain kinds of media on their perceptions. But when you have 16-yr-olds commenting on the performance saying things like “"It was kind of really dirty and sexual, I would say," and "His fans are going to be like, 'What are you doing?' ", every responsible adult and parent in our society should take note and take action.
As for Adam Lambert, he had this to say after his performance, "We're in 2009 -- it's time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people's eyes, and if it offends them, then maybe I'm not for them." It is unfortunate that Adam Lambert feels that he has a right to expose the public to inappropriate behavior on our airwaves during a time when parents should be able to watch and enjoy a program celebrating music with their children without worrying about this sort of "sexual performance". It is a stain on our nation that America is known around the world for this kind of public indecency.
The American Music Awards in recent years is less noted for music talent and more for its vulgar and obscene performances by "artists". Considering that the music industry and music related programming has a tremendous impact on our youth, when we have high rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and inappropriate dress and behavior exhibited by our youth, we as a nation of people, parents and concerned individuals can not sit idly by while mass media producers vulgarize our society.
News media reports have indicated that many of the youth who watched the unedited broadcast of a performance by Adam Lambert thought the performance was, in one 16-yr-old girl's opinion, "was kind of really dirty and sexual". MTV reports that 78% of the fans polled said, "They weren't feeling the performance". If children and youth recognize that ABC and Dick Clark Productions went too far in this public performance broadcast to millions, then it is incumbent upon the leaders of our society to send a strong and clear message that this corporate irresponsibility is unacceptable. Also, according to media reports, Adam Lambert purposefully and willfully planned a sexual performance that the producers should have been reasonably aware of since practices were held and when asked about it after wards, Lambert was flippant in his comments stating, "We're in 2009 -- it's time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people's eyes, and if it offends them, then maybe I'm not for them." To be fair, Adam Lambert's performance was not the only obscene display and disregard for public decency. The American Music Awards has displayed a pattern over the years of abusing their privilege to broadcast over our public airwaves.
We respectively ask those in positions of power to open the eyes of broadcast companies and those who perform on the public airwaves that vulgar and obscene content will no longer be tolerated and if they insist on taking risks, they must be prepared to accept the consequences.