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'Friends' LGBT storylines censored in China

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The hit US sitcom ‘Friends’ has been edited on Chinese streaming platforms, including iQiyi and Youku, which have removed all references to Ross Gellers former-wife Carol being lesbian and in a relationship with another woman.

Carol, who was played originally by Anita Barone, before she was replaced by Jane Sibbett, was edited out of her first appearance in the show, including all references to Ross, played by David Schwimmer, getting divorced, the South China Morning Post newspaper reports, according to femalefirst.co.uk.

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Meanwhile, a scene that showed Joey, played by Matt LeBlanc and Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, kissing at a New Year’s Eve party has also been removed by the streaming platforms.

Fans of the comedy recently took to the Chinese social media site Weibo to voice their opposition to the move, using the hashtag FriendsCensored. However, the hashtag has now been removed from the site, according to CNN.

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Prior to this release, the unedited version of the sitcom was available between 2012 and 2013 on platforms such as Sohu and iQiyi.

However, in 2016, the Chinese government brought in new guidelines that prohibited TV programmes from featuring gay relationships, along with topics that “exaggerate the dark side of society”.

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The eight-page document banned “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content” and ruled that homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, casual sex and underage relationships as no-go areas.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the Oscar-winning biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, was previously altered to satisfy the guidelines. Editors of the film removed over two minutes of LGBT-related content, including two men kissing and the use of the word “gay”.

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