The leading online streaming platforms deleted the footage of BTS, Lady Gaga, and a few others from HBO Max's Friends: The Reunion, which aired on Thursday, 27 May, in China. This censorship came as a shock to the fans, who were left wondering why the crucial segments were deleted from the episode.
The 13-second clip of the BTS, Lady Gaga's close-to-three-minute clipping, Justin Bieber's Justin Bieber catwalk, and all the references of LGBTQ have been removed by iQiyi, Alibaba's Youku, and Tencent Video. Also, the run-time of the show was reduced from the original version and varied from one streaming platform to the other.
The iQiyi's version had a run-time of 1:37:54, Tencent Video's at 1:39:23, and Youku's version had 1:40:16, as per a report on Variety.
Why Were The Scenes Removed for the Chinese Audience?
A section of the Chinese audience was upset with the BTS for not failing to praise the sacrifice of the Chinese soldiers in the Korean war in their acceptance speech in an event, last year after winning a prize for their contribution to the US-Korea relationship.
Lady Gaga is reportedly one of the personalities banned by China after her meeting with Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader seeking Tibetan independence, in 2016.
When it comes to Justin Bieber, he rubbed the Chinese government the wrong way in 2013 for taking a photograph at Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni war shrine, which honors Japanese World War II war criminals. He was banned from traveling to the country by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture in 2017.
So the portions of these celebs were done away with the streaming sites.
In addition to it, Matt LeBlanc's underwear scene was also deleted. Last but not the least, German 'Friends' fan and gay Ricardo's references have been removed.
The aforementioned sequences were not aired by the streaming platforms possibly fearing the government's wrath in the year which marks the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party.
This censor overdrive has not gone well with many fans, who were reportedly forced to watch the original version, which had a run-time of 1.43:50, through illegal downloads.
"Friends: The Reunion", which originally starred Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, is a 2021 reunion special of sitcom Friends.
David Beckham, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Larry Hankin, Reese Witherspoon, and a few other celebrities who guest stars on the show.