Adam Lambert Defends Sam Smith for Saying He Doesn't Like Michael Jackson: 'Give Him a Break'

Adam Lambert is setting the record straight about that viral video he accidentally posted in which Sam Smith said he doesn’t like the King of Pop.

Earlier this month, Smith and Lambert were boating with friends near Catalina, California, when the American Idol alum, 36, unintentionally shared a clip in which the 26-year-old “Stay With Me” singer said: “I don’t like Michael Jackson, but [‘Human Nature’] is a good song.”

Lambert removed the video from Instagram, but it was saved and re-shared online, and Smith immediately caught flak online.

Now, Lambert exclusively tells PEOPLE the post was an honest mistake — and that Smith’s comments were taken out of context.

“We had been out at sea all day! We had had some champagne! I got home, and I was like, ‘I wanna post a picture of my new Gucci sunglasses!’ So I had my phone on mute because I wasn’t thinking. And I was looking through video, and I see a cute one of me in the sunglasses, and ‘Oh, there’s Sam, okay I’ll post it!’ I did not listen to the video,” says Lambert, who will front Queen during the band’s upcoming “Crown Jewels” residency in Las Vegas.

The “If I Had You” singer says by the time he noticed the contents of the video, it was too late.

“I had a friend with me who went, ‘Oh, this is a cute video,’ and he played it and showed it to me, and I heard Sam … a segment of a conversation we were having,” Lambert says. “I went, ‘Ooh, that doesn’t sound right out of context; I’m gonna take this down.’”

Adds the singer of Smith: “The poor guy — now people are jumpin’ all over him! And it’s like, look: The guy is entitled to his opinion. And also: It was a sliver of a fuller conversation that was actually quite interesting. I think people need to give him a break.”

After the fallout, Lambert reached out to his pal, who immediately accepted his apology.

“He’s so cool and down to earth, like, ‘It’s not a big deal, whatever!’” Lambert says of Smith. “Hats off to him. He’s not bothered.”

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