Friends fans accuse Chinese sites of censoring LGBT+ content from the show

The apparent removal of LGBT+ content is one of several changes noticed by fans

Peony Hirwani
Monday 14 February 2022 08:54 GMT

Friends Reunion: Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer reveal they almost had off-screen romance

Fans of hit American sitcom Friends have accused China of censoring LGBT content from the show.

Several major Chinese streaming sites including Tencent, Baidu’s IQiyi, Alibaba’s Youku, and Bilibili re-released the first season of the series on Friday (11 February).

However, fans on the Chinese social media website Weibo noticed changes in the show, including the removal of LGBT+ content, as well as incorrect translations.

One instance concerns a scene where Ross (David Schwimmer) explains that his wife is a lesbian. The dialogue was allegedly scrubbed from the Chinese version of the show.

Another scene where Joey (played by LeBlanc) suggests going to a “strip joint” saw the line translated as “go out to play” on Tencent Video.

Reuters confirmed that Tencent’s version of Friends included the changes.

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This isn’t the first time western shows have been censored in China.

Last week, China restored Fight Club’s original ending after the amendment of the final scene sparked severe backlash on social media.

In 2019, many scenes in the film Bohemian Rhapsody referencing Freddie Mercury’s sexuality were removed in its Chinese release.

The China Independent Film Festival (CIFF) was “halted indefinitely” back in 2020. Many of the films at the festival, which was founded in 2003, tackled issues such as homosexuality and political history deemed sensitive or inappropriate by the Communist Party.

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