Petition war over US singer's appearance in countdown show

The first petition says openly gay singer Adam Lambert is an "inappropriate choice" for MediaCorp's New Year countdown concert. The second objects to the "obvious sexual orientation discrimination".
The first petition says openly gay singer Adam Lambert is an "inappropriate choice" for MediaCorp's New Year countdown concert. The second objects to the "obvious sexual orientation discrimination".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Row over gay singer Adam Lambert performing at Celebrate 2016

A petition in support of American singer Adam Lambert performing at Celebrate 2016, MediaCorp's New Year countdown concert, was launched on Thursday and garnered more than 12,700 signatures in one day.

Titled "We want Adam Lambert performing in Countdown 2016", it has 12,747 signatures as of 6pm yesterday. It is a response to an online petition launched on Wednesday, asking organisers to remove the openly gay singer from the show.

The earlier petition addressed to MediaCorp, the Singapore Government and Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Grace Fu, other organisers, partners and sponsors of the event, called Lambert an "inappropriate choice" to "send off our historic Jubilee Year or to usher in the new year". It aims to get 20,000 signatures and, as of yesterday, has garnered more than 14,400.

Both petitions are on the website iPetitions.

Those behind the counter-petition call themselves "the moral majority of Singapore". They "utterly denounce and condemn the obvious sexual orientation discrimination demonstrated by the other petition on this site that is against Adam Lambert performing in Countdown 2016". Support in the comments section include one by commenter Soh Yu Da, who says: "Singapore is an inclusive and secular society. Bigots do not speak for me."

Kuhan Mani says: "His music has nothing to do with his sexual preferences. And even if it did, I don't see why it should matter. If you don't like him or his music, don't watch it! Stop ruining it for other people."

The first petition cites various incidents involving Lambert that its organisers object to, such as kissing a male band member on stage during the live telecast of the American Music Awards in 2009.

In response to queries from Life, a Media Development Authority (MDA) spokesman said "free-to-air TV broadcasters have to ensure that their programmes comply with the Free-To-Air TV Programme Code".

The code indicates that "programmes over free-to-air television must at all times maintain a standard that is acceptable to the community".

In a statement on Thursday, Ms Debra Soon, MediaCorp's head of its English-language family and premier segments, said: "Celebrate 2016 will be suitable for family audiences and conform with broadcast regulations."

Lambert has performed in Singapore several times over the past five years, with concerts at Resorts World Sentosa in 2010 and the Formula One Grand Prix at the Padang in 2011. Following a complaint, his last concert here in 2013 at the Star Performing Arts Centre received an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the MDA.

The singer released a statement through his label Warner Music Singapore that reads: "My performance at Celebrate 2016 will not only be a spectacular one, it will also celebrate the entire human family in all its diversity. I am a uniter, not a divider, and I believe in celebrating the human heart and spirit."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2015, with the headline 'Petition war over US singer's appearance in countdown show'. Print Edition | Subscribe