Various Chinese platforms streaming have been accused of censoring stories with LGTBI content from the American sitcom Friends.
The program was relaunched in the Asian giant this week on Alibaba-owned Tencent, Bilibili, Sohu, iQiyi and Youku platforms.
But fans in China have complained about edited scenes, including those that reference a character who is a lesbian, iafter in which a kiss between people of the same sex was seen.
It’s unclear why the scenes were removed, and neither platform has publicly responded to the allegations.
The show, which aired from 1994 to 2004, takes place in New York and revolves around a group of friends, played by Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.
friends has a large following in China, with many millennials in the country giving him credit for teaching them to speak English and introducing them to American culture.
Sohu held the broadcast rights to the series between 2012 and 2018 and aired the full episodes, uncensored, during that run.
But Chinese fans expressed their discontent on social media after the new release and learning of the edits.
In one instance, dialogue was cut referring to one of the characters’ ex-wife, Ross, who left him after realizing she was a lesbian.
Incorrect subtitles were also used to play down sexual references, the newspaper reported. South China Morning Post.
In one scene, the phrase “multiple orgasms” was translated into the Chinese phrase “women have multiple gossips.”
“Not only does it ignore female sexual desire and enjoyment… it also reinforces the gender stereotype of women,” a user wrote on the Weibo social network, as reported by the US network CNN.
“If you can’t display the full version under the current circumstances, then don’t import it,” wrote another.
Several users have called for a boycott of the series in protest.
The hashtag #FriendsCensored has become a popular term on Weibo in recent days.
But on Sunday, searches for this hashtag and other variations returned few or no results, suggesting the discussions drew the attention of Chinese authorities.
In recent years, China has removed tens of thousands of websites and social media accounts containing content it deems “vulgar,” pornographic, and other material considered illegal or “anti-Chinese.”
The scenes featuring Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the Korean pop band BTS were cut from the special meeting of friends which aired last year.
It’s unclear why the musicians were removed from the final broadcast, but all three have previously been accused of insulting China’s government. Lady Gaga, for example, was banned from performing in the country after she met the Dalai Lama in 2016.
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The controversy in China over the censorship of LGTBI scenes from Friends