Petitions Divided On Lambert NYE Show

Two competing petitions have surfaced leading up to Adam Lambert’s headline New Year’s Eve show organized and broadcast nationally by MediaCorp, the state-owned broadcaster of Singapore.

Photo: Greg Allen / Invision / AP
ABC's "Good Morning America," New York City

One petition demands that the government cancel Lambert’s participation due to his “support for gay rights and reputation for risque performances,” which the petition calls “contrary to mainstream Singaporean values.” Some of the comments appended to the petition describe Lambert’s performances as being “disgusting,” “disturbing” and “lewd.” A different petition that started a day or so after the first came to light demanded just the opposite – that organizers keep Lambert to show the world that Singapore “shuns discrimination and promotes diverse inclusive points of view.”

The petition says Lambert’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with his “role as an entertainer and singer.” One commenter said that preventing him from appearing on Singapore TV would be like banning iPhones because Apple’s CEO is gay.

As of Nov. 28, the petitions had about the same number of signatures, and some people were adding their names from places like Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan to either. Lambert performed in Singapore in 2013, and there were no complaints to speak of. As a BBC report points out, Lady Gaga incited more controversy.

This time, the debate seems to spring from the conservative majority, which has lately noticed the city’s burgeoning gay scene. In addition, right-wing members of religious groups, both Christian and Muslim, are becoming more vocal in opposition to liberal values as represented by the call for gay rights. One example is the annual Pink Dot campaign, where supporters of gay rights wear something pink to show solidarity. The campaign has given rise to a counter-movement called Wear White by conservatives who don white clothing to show their “purity.”

Gay sex is still technically illegal in Singapore, though the government has said it will not enforce the law. Of more concern to the authorities is demonstrations on either side of the divide. As a kind of compromise, MediaCorp has said Lambert will still perform but that the show will be “suitable for family audiences.” Lambert chimed in by releasing a statement saying he would “celebrate the entire human family in all its diversity.”