New Zealand

Airline Cuts Kissing Scene Amid Concerns Over Homophobia

Due to mounting pressure, Air New Zealand has decided to cut a scene from a lighthearted in-flight safety video wherein a rugby player refuses to kiss a male flight attendant on the cheek. A representative for the airline says that higher-ups discussed the scene before production and after initially finding no problem with the scene, decided to include it in the video. They have only recently started to receive complaints about concerns over homophobia. So far, the video has been seen by about 2 million people since since it was released a few months ago.

One person not offended by the scene is the male flight attendent featured in the video. He said: "I'm absolutely gutted that a couple of people in the gay community have ruined this for everyone else. I'm proud to be gay, proud to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video. Obviously there are some people in the gay community that can be a little precious and need to lighten up. If anything this particular scene shows a bit of light hearted humour about the situation."

Watch the unedited in-flight safety video for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP. The scene in question comes in at the 2:49 mark.

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  1. Seems harmless, but I understand the "subtle reinforcement" argument. As far a the "disgusted" look on the rugby player's face, none of the rugby players seemed to have any acting experience (not that they should), so it's open to interpretation whether or not he was actually as disgusted as he looked. He probably just didn't know how to convey "thanks, but no thanks" in less crass manner.

    Posted by: Vince in WeHo | Dec 13, 2010 3:08:01 AM

  2. Articulate, sensitive and sensible - but he's also a hunk. I want to marry Ricco !

    Posted by: Squeak | Dec 13, 2010 4:28:37 AM

  3. as a kiwi, flying domestic with air new zealand often , im in two minds about this. i cringe when i see it, as most people are missing the point- he happily allows a girl to kiss him on the check before, rugby is a very masculine sport with it being the epitome of the masculine male throughout nz culture- those who dont fit the jock mold are often felt to be worthless and especially gay kids they get it worse from rugby jocks,
    but then again it could be just some fun, but i think its better out then in.

    Posted by: michael | Dec 13, 2010 4:30:31 AM

  4. Here's the thing with all you "ighten up" sheeps....

    why does the comic relief ALWAYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS have to be at the expense of gays?
    Answer= Because the world has concluded that it is acceptable to make gays the punch line in jokes. Black, religious, athiest, yellow, all cultures, all ceeds, all ethnicities sit on our airplane and have a good laugh at gay intimacy.

    The thought of a gay man kissing a hetrosexual man is just SO hilarious....because if they did indeed kiss it would be completely unnatural and uncomfortable.

    Why didn't they use woman in this ad? why a male flight attendant?

    These are indeed questions gays should eb asking themselves, but our need to want to "fit in" and be a part of the joke is the reason why we essentially have little to ZERO rights in this country, and even worse elsewhere.

    We're the punching bag, and many in the community seem to not mind one bit.

    Posted by: Redgreen | Dec 13, 2010 5:04:09 AM

  5. I don't understand the notion of us, the group that has witchunts in local papers for our execution in parts of the world, where we can't say "I'm gay" while serving for a military who's sole purpose is fighting for FREEDOM, who have our kids as young as 12 blowing their brains out because of relentless daily ridicule; I don't get how we've become such push overs to obvious foolishness. Our community should stand against being made the clown in any capacity, now more than ever. Some of you all need to be reeducated on what homophobia can infer. It is not always bashing a gay persons head in. And although I wouldn't classify this video as homophobic, it certainly does lend support to potential homophobic ideology in that it supports the "ick factor" of being gay. The "ick factor" is the biggest handicap on our side in a cultural war. That is what is used against us, while people hide behind Bible verses, it's the "ick factor" of being gay that creates disdain for being gay. If we could eliminate that "ick factor" from society and teach them that two dudes kissing each other isn't that funny (or really funny at all!) than we could move in the right direction, but until videos like this are not encouraged, and until we start correcting people who use backward statements like "that's so gay" and until we stop accepting our role as the joke, we'll never be taken seriously.

    Posted by: Daddolfe | Dec 13, 2010 5:18:19 AM


    Posted by: Tigerama | Dec 13, 2010 6:46:08 AM

  7. Could not care less about one second in a foreign airline's safety ad. You could easily argue that acknowledging that most male flight attendants are gay is a fact of life, instead of homophobia.

    It's absolutely nothing.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 13, 2010 6:54:29 AM

  8. The vast majority of you are self-loathing morons who accept casual homophobia as them 'laughing with us' because you have the self-esteem of a kumquat.

    Substitute the gay guy with a black woman.


    Posted by: Cory | Dec 13, 2010 7:20:19 AM

  9. I still prefer the naked one. I'd put my seat back for that younger pilot anytime.

    Posted by: Clifw | Dec 13, 2010 7:53:50 AM

  10. I watched this several times on a recent trip to Australia on Air New Zealand and laughed every time. This is funny, not offensive.

    Posted by: Richard | Dec 13, 2010 9:08:53 AM

  11. I guess I'm one of the sheep ... I hope we're allowed to laugh at ourselves a little! My partner and I loved this video when we were in NZ earlier this year. If the flight attendant's involvement in the video were strictly for the joke, I would see the point being made here, but he actually has a prominent speaking part representing his company in other parts of the video.

    I personally love the idea that every foreigner traveling in NZ has to watch this video and can't escape seeing a proud openly gay man spotlighted as a valued employee of his company.

    Posted by: Jim H | Dec 13, 2010 9:28:37 AM

  12. There's too many uptight queens on here with sticks up their arse.

    If we can't laugh at ourselves once in a while, who can we laugh at?

    Posted by: jaymax | Dec 13, 2010 10:39:25 AM

  13. "When I saw the video I just read the scene as a "thanks but no thanks" deal... nothing overly homophobic and just a bit of fun."

    That's exactly why I don't find it OVRLY offensive -- I give them a bit of benefit of the doubt that they might not have meant to imply some of what seems to be implied.
    But we have to read these things in the context of the times, and we are still in times where gay people are denied rights, even in New Zealand, because a segment of society still thinks we're too icky to be equal.
    Remember the 1968 Star Trek episode in which Kirk kissed Uhura, and there was public anger in bigot circles over the fact she was black? Imagine a US airline in 1968 showing a white man getting a peck from a white flight attendant, then giving a "thanks, but no thanks" signal to a black woman who offers her chhek immediately afterward.
    In this day and age, I think most people can see why that would have been a bad choice because we have gotten over the idea that "black is icky" is an acceptable punchline. "Gay is icky" still works too often, unfortunately (as in the line "Electric cars are gay," etc.).
    I have no outrage over this, but I'm glad they took it out.
    I wonder why, though, they didn't replace it with a shot of the rugby player offering his own cheek to the man for a kiss.

    Posted by: GregV | Dec 13, 2010 10:40:01 AM

  14. Didn't find it offensive when I first saw it some time ago and now I can't believe this is an actual issue. While I appreciate Air NZ being willing to remove questionable content, this is a bit overboard. I had to watch the extras to see if there was any more context - and it still looks totally harmless in a Kiwi way.
    I agree with other posters who have said we are making a controversy where there ought not to be any. If we protest a man refusing to kiss another man on the cheek, then doesn't that just give more credence to the complaints that roll into to TV stations when two men are topless in bed together or something. Tony perkins and his ilk will be the first to jump on it and say the gays are offended by a kiss that doesn't happen but our children can see two men in bed together and we can't complain.
    Seriously, go online and make video responses to people like Matt Barber and those guys who all disable their written comments. Leave my favorite airline out of this - sadly I only get to fly with them every couple years, but they are always accommodating.

    Posted by: jonny | Dec 13, 2010 10:57:45 AM

  15. If the airline attendant getting turned down by the turned-off straight rugby player is subtly perpetuating homophobia, then the picture of the half-naked perfectly built man that granny's trying to stuff in the overhead compartment is subtly perpetuating the overemphasis on the superficial sizing-up of a man's physical appearance in the gay dating culture.

    Try that on for size, those who are offended by the ad.

    Posted by: Vince in WeHo | Dec 13, 2010 11:59:23 AM

  16. The kiss scene is not offensive. It's a light-hearted safety video. Guys do not kiss other guys, unless they're gay and the player in the video was obviously not gay. There's nothing offensive about this video and gay activists making a big fuss about the rejection are just plain crazy. You know there are much more important problems going on in the world for this matter to even be relevant at all. We live in a world of namby-pamby crybabies anymore who really need to get a life and use their apparent free time in a productive way.

    Posted by: RenoSteve | Dec 13, 2010 12:00:34 PM

  17. How was this offensive?! And that rugby player was hot!

    Posted by: jaragon | Dec 13, 2010 6:05:26 PM

  18. "ew a gay person,kissing him will give me the gays!!!!!"...time to get rid of this ignorant view

    Posted by: sal | Dec 13, 2010 7:42:06 PM

  19. So to the whiners, do you feast on the notion of kissing a woman, whether in real life, an ad, or entertaining safety video?

    Get over it. I have four straight brothers. Three would have zero interest in kissing another guy. The other is just horny. As others have said, learn to focus on the big picture. This company was gay-friendly enough to have included this as part of the script and consulted gay groups before airing it. Get real: I wouldn't have wanted to kiss that steward either.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 13, 2010 10:35:12 PM

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