China is cracking down on the famous Friends show with censorship regarding LGBTQ-related plots. Fans of the show have voiced their concerns, with the microblogging site Weibo acting as the battlefield between them and the controversy. The hashtag #FriendsCensored started to trend Friday night when fans noticed some important content being either replaced or completely removed.
China Censors Friends to Tighten Grip on Entertainment
Some of the big streaming sites in China – such as Bilibili, Tencent, Youku, Sohu, and iQiyi – began showing Friends on February 11. After the big spark of interest that reignited the show’s legacy with Friends: The Reunion, the Chinese streaming services raced to acquire rights to stream it. Initially, Friends was available in China back in 2012 but only lasted for a year before the streaming deal came to a close. There was no censorship back then; now, the Chinese government is becoming a strict force that demands no representation of the LGBTQ community whatsoever in the media or any entertainment. The result: a bad display of China working with censors to cut content out of Friends.
For example, Ross Geller’s former wife, Carol, falls in love with another woman, which prompted their divorce. This is one of the character’s major and essential plotlines, and it continues to impact Ross and the other characters throughout the series. The censorship completely omits any conversations involving Carol and her new love interest. This also includes some sexually suggestive lines that the characters graciously indulge in. If the first episode has already been severely edited, who knows what else is being left out due to modern Chinese government standards.
Fans of the show have jumped onto Weibo to challenge the censorship. The show only premiered on the streaming sites just yesterday, so perhaps we’ll see more protesting on social media throughout the next week. But what are your thoughts on the China censorship on Friends because of LGBTQ-related stories? Will their government continue to silence present-day norms, or will they hold back and allow the streaming services to show Friends in its entirety without edits? Let us know in the comments!