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Singapore censors Oscars

By |2009-03-05T09:00:00-05:00March 5th, 2009|News|

by Rex Wockner

Singapore’s MediaCorp TV censored its replay of the Academy Awards Feb. 23, removing portions of Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech.
Black won the original screenplay Oscar for “Milk,” and said: “When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Tex., to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.”
“If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are ‘less than’ by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.”
Sean Penn’s acceptance speech also was truncated. He won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in the same film.
Penn said: “You commie, homo-loving sons of guns. … For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”
Subscribers to one of the main Singaporean gay e-mail lists were outraged at the edits. “This sort of bigoted, intolerant and ignorant action by a national broadcaster is better suited for Iran or North Korea than a nation that puts itself forward as a modern world-class city,” wrote one.
MediaCorp/Channel 5 censorship manager David Christie said the broadcast “would have been in serious breach of the MDA (Media Development Authority) Programme Code if such controversial content was not editorially managed.”
“The code explicitly disallows content that sympathizes with, promotes or normalizes such a lifestyle from being broadcast,” he said.
Gay sex is illegal in Singapore.
The Asian satellite TV service STAR also censored the two men’s speeches, dropping the audio each time the words “gay” or “lesbian” were uttered.
STAR beams into more than 50 countries to some 300 million viewers.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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