The Latest Thing to Be Censored in China: Rami Malek’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Oscars Speech
At this point, the censorship of any sort of LGBTQ content in China borders on humorous. While the punishments faced by citizens found in violations of the ridiculous ban is far from funny, the lengths the Chinese government and its broadcasters will go to remove anything that might be supportive of queer culture is downright ridiculous. The latest victim of Chinese censorship is the Rami Malek Oscars speech from Sunday’s 2019 Academy Awards.
China has a horrible history of banning LGBTQ content in general, so we weren’t surprised in November 2018 when a Chinese novelist was sentenced to a decade behind bars for including gay sex in her latest book. And last month we chuckled at the absurdity of the platform iQiyi (a Chinese version of Netflix) blurring the ears of men who wore earrings on-screen.
As Hornet noted the day after the Academy Awards, Rami Malek said in his speech, “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself, and the fact that I’m celebrating him and this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.”
Mango TV, however, translated “gay man” to “special group.”
Screenshots of the incorrect translation were shared on Chinese social media platform Weibo, and according to the BBC, users responded with comments like “Even the word ‘gay’ can’t appear on our screens, this is so sad” and “What on earth are they afraid of?”
Censorship by Mango TV specifically isn’t new, as the broadcaster made news just last year for blurring rainbow flags present during Eurovision.
The film Bohemian Rhapsody will also be greatly censored for Chinese audiences
The film for which the Rami Malek Oscars speech occurred, Bohemian Rhapsody, will itself be censored before it’s shown to Chinese audiences.
Most believed the film, which has proved to be a blockbuster release stateside, would never even make it to China due to its queer content, but just today 20th Century Fox was granted permission to open the film theatrically in China.
Despite its (limited) release in China, presumably in mid-March, the Hollywood Reporter is claiming at least a minute of footage will be removed before any screenings. That footage includes scenes of drug use and kisses between Malek’s Freddie Mercury character and other men.
Are you surprised at China’s censorship of the Rami Malek Oscars speech, and the film itself?
Featured image of Rami Malek Oscars speech taken from live broadcast of 2019 Oscars on ABC