Censorship | Film | Harvey Milk | India | Lance Black | Malaysia | News | Sean Penn | Taiwan

Gay and Lesbian Content Censored in Asia Oscar Re-Broadcast

Monday I posted a note from a reader that Lance Black's speech and other gay content in Sunday's Academy Awards presentation had been cut from broadcast in India.

Pennmilk Now, the AP reports the censorship took place on a much broader scale:

"The speeches by actor Sean Penn and writer Dustin Lance Black — who won Oscars for their work in 'Milk' — were shown in full during live broadcasts of the Oscars that were screened across Asia on Monday morning. But viewers who caught recorded telecasts in the evening on STAR, an Asian satellite TV service that says it reaches more than 300 million viewers in 53 countries, noticed that the sound was removed whenever both men mentioned 'gay' or 'lesbian.' ... 'As a gay man, I am truly offended,' Pang Khee Teik, a prominent Malaysian arts commentator, wrote in a letter sent out to several media organizations. 'Stop censoring the words that describe who I am.' Pang said the move 'sent a message ... that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public's ears.' Users of Internet forums in Singapore and India also complained about the censored speeches. Jannie Poon, STAR's Hong Kong-based spokeswoman, stressed that the company had no intention of upsetting any viewers, but said it has 'a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.' Poon said she was not immediately aware that the speeches had been censored, but noted that STAR's preliminary ratings for the Oscar broadcasts indicated 'record-breaking' audiences, especially in India and Taiwan."

Viewers apparently saw Black and Penn speaking, but heard nothing coming from their sets.

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  1. We got all the speeches in full here in Taiwan -- both live, and rebroadcast (with accurate Chinese subtitles). I think Star only edited broadcasts in some Asian countries... ?

    Posted by: Taiwandroo | Feb 25, 2009 11:34:11 AM

  2. Doesn't affect me. I boycott these countries anyway.

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 25, 2009 11:47:01 AM

  3. I should clarify, I boycott, Singapore, Malaysia and India. Don't make me cancel travel to Taiwan or China though. I will start pushing a "buy American" ideal.

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 25, 2009 11:49:11 AM

  4. Some Asian countries are still a bit primitive. The countries that did the censoring are most likely countries that are not free. Where some "big-brother" overlord dictates to the people what is, and what is not OK. Kind of sad and primitive

    Posted by: Dancobbb | Feb 25, 2009 11:56:59 AM

  5. Jannie Poon. She's tangy.

    Posted by: ANON IN SOCAL | Feb 25, 2009 12:11:23 PM

  6. Seems like they censored all the Oscar broadcasts in countries that have sodomy laws. Which means the censorship, in its own twisted way, does make sense to them I suppose.

    Homosexuality is illegal in India, Singapore, and Malaysia. You can go to jail for it. It isn't illegal in China (PRC or ROC).

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 25, 2009 12:47:30 PM

  7. what about E! for the post-ceremonies? when it came to Sean Penn, their audio suddenly went out. What's up with that?

    Posted by: Ward | Feb 25, 2009 1:00:56 PM

  8. STAR TV is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, That's right, the same people who bring you FOX NEWS, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and the NY Post.

    This is not an Asian-country thing censorship issue, since Star is not state-owned.

    This is totally a Rupert Murdoch thing, and we all know what a right-wing homophobe he is.

    NewsCorp should apologize.

    Posted by: The Truth | Feb 25, 2009 1:04:47 PM

  9. The issue at hand are these corporation censoring words that are the least offensive word you can have in the English dictionary. They were mere descriptions. They said they were trying to be sensitive to local cultures.. but think they were too paranoid and they should apologize.

    As for homosexuality being illegal in Malaysia and Singapore.. I need to correct that perception now. Singapore and Malaysia to a lesser degree have a triving and growing LGBT presence. Homosexuality is not illegal in Singapore and Malaysia. Sodomy and Oral sex is illegal. Until recently Singapore applied this law to both male-to-male and also male-female sexual partners but now it excludes consensual male-female parties. In Malaysia, it still applies to both orientation.

    Like I said the scene in both countries are thriving. Singapore is gaining a reputation of having a vocal and growing community of LGBT individuals. And many consider it to be the Gay & Lesbian capital of the region.

    Posted by: Hazri Haili | Feb 25, 2009 1:12:57 PM

  10. "Where some "big-brother" overlord dictates to the people what is, and what is not OK."

    Don't you mean Rupert Murdoch when you say big brother?

    Posted by: daveb | Feb 25, 2009 1:32:11 PM

  11. Said Hazri Haili, "And many consider it to be the Gay & Lesbian capital of the region."


    Posted by: Marc | Feb 25, 2009 1:33:36 PM

  12. "Homosexuality is not illegal in Singapore and Malaysia. Sodomy and Oral sex is illegal."

    Which means homosexuality is illegal. What do you think gay men do in bed?

    This was the same absurd argument forwarded by the State of Texas in 2003 (we are punishing "acts," not "orientation"). And it was rightfully rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court as mere semantics.

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 25, 2009 1:44:08 PM

  13. It is absurd. You don't wanna crush their hopes, but at the same time, you don't want to act like there isn't a tremendous problem with institutional homophobia in these regions.

    I didn't think that Taiwan censored the rebroadcast.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 25, 2009 1:58:41 PM

  14. You don't have to go as far as Asia to find this going on.

    On Monday morning's local news on Miami NBC6, they aired a censored version of an excerpt of Sean Penn's acceptance speech. In Miami, Penn was shown saying "you commie, [bleep]-loving sons of guns."

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 25, 2009 2:27:41 PM

  15. You don't have to go as far as Asia to find this.

    In Miami the local news (NBC6) on Monday morning excerpted from a censored version of Sean Penn's acceptance speech: "You commie, [bleep]-loving sons of guns."

    A few minutes later, the national Today Show aired the uncensored "homo-loving."

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 25, 2009 2:32:50 PM

  16. John in CA:
    Well, that leaves Frot and Mutual Masturbation I guess.

    Posted by: Occono | Feb 25, 2009 3:15:07 PM

  17. John in CA suggests that the censorship, in countries that make sodomy a crime, may make sense in a twisted way.

    My question is whether this kind of censorship of an Oscar telecast has ever occurred before? I'm guessing that these backwards countries also deem adultery a crime. And, when an oscar winner thanks his/her girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other, (i.e. Halle Berry's acceptance speech) did her words get erased as well? If not, then its just us.

    Posted by: Grego | Feb 26, 2009 12:18:22 PM

  18. to clarify, i didn't mean Ms. Berry was adulterous, merely that she like many women, had a child with her bf while out of wedlock recently. If she were to be awarded an oscar today, would those same censoring countries not allow her to mention her relationship with her BF.

    Posted by: Grego | Feb 26, 2009 12:30:02 PM

  19. Oh, I thought I was the only one who noticed.

    But we have the internet. I already had seen the speeches on the internet before the broadcast.

    But personally, I was quite pissed that they actually did that.

    Posted by: Mo Nirvana | Feb 27, 2009 8:24:08 AM

  20. Redtube Cam

    Posted by: cece | Mar 1, 2009 12:27:12 PM

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