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Chinese Streaming Sites Censor LGBT Discussions in ‘Friends’: Report

  • Chinese streaming platforms reportedly censored a LGBT plotline in “Friends.” 
  • Fans took to Chinese social platform Weibo to protest censorship, CNN reported. 
  • China has has a history of censoring LGBT content since it introduced new guidelines in 2016. 



services have reportedly censored multiple episodes featuring LGBT content in the TV series “Friends.

CNN reported the news on Saturday. 

Sohu and iQiyi, which are both Chinese streaming platforms, hosted the show without any censorship until 2013, per CNN. But as the cast gathered for the 2021 special “Friends: The Reunion,” streaming platforms purchased broadcasting rights together. 

According to CNN, Sohu and iQiyi, along with other platforms like Bilibili, Tencent and Youku, started streaming “Friends” on Friday. 

Insider reached out to iQiyi and Sohu for comment but they did not immediately respond. 

Fans protested the censorship using #FriendsCensored on Chinese social media site Weibo. It received more than 54 million views before being censored by the platform on Saturday morning, per CNN. 

In the censored episode streamed on Sohu, the character Ross said: “Women have endless gossips,” whereas in the original version, Ross said: “[Women can have] multiple orgasms.”

Insider’s Waiyee Yip reported in early February that China restored the original ending to “Fight Club” after receiving backlash for altering it.

China has had a history of censoring LGBT content such as gay scenes from “Bohemian Rhapsody”, or sentencing an author who wrote about gay love to 10 years’ imprisonment.  

The censorship appears to stem from China’s 2016 guidelines surrounding LGBT content. The guidelines say television shows shouldn’t include storylines involving gay relationships.

The guidelines also reference “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” and deem homosexuality, extramarital affairs, one-night stands, and underage love as being off-limits, per CNN. 

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