Chinese streaming platforms censor LGBTQ references in Friends TV show

American series Friends has been a staple on our TV screens for over a decade and popular for its comedy and characters, but viewers in China won’t be able to see the show in its entirety as censors cut scenes featuring characters LGBTQ.

According to a Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, the censors extracted scenes between Ross (David Schwimmer) and his ex-wife Carol (Anita Barone) who became a lesbian after their divorce. The story of Ross and Carol’s separation is explored in the early episodes, with the former mourning his new single life.

Joey’s (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler’s (Matthew Perry) on-screen New Year’s Kiss was also cut. According to the publication, the censors also replaced some dialogue in the captions. What once read “multiple orgasms” has been replaced with “women gossip endlessly”.

The show’s Chinese fans reacted to the changes made to social media site Weibo after the first season aired on several local streaming platforms in China. They protested the changes made to the show and placed the hashtag #FriendsCensored at the top of the website. According to CNNhashtags were also censored on Saturday.

According to morning shifta popular comment on Weibo read, “Seriously, if you can’t stream [the complete version]don’t do it at all. [The streaming platforms] spent a lot of money buying the rights [to the show], but efforts to alter the lines and edit the scenes ended up being criticized by the public. Why?”

Previously, the authorities have also been criticized for removing many scenes from meeting of friends where segments featuring stars Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and BTS were deleted. They also removed all references to the LGBTQ community made during the reunion.

This is not the first time that Chinese authorities have edited Western films or soap operas. Just recently they also changed fight club original ending to the ultimately winning authorities. marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also never made it to Chinese cinemas in an attempt to eliminate “Western influence” in Asia.

Christopher S. Washington