Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Really, AXN?

Holy shit, they do look dangerous!
It seems the sight of two men in a long-term relationship holding hands is simply too much for Asian cable network AXN to handle.

On Monday, October 1st, episode 1 of season 21 of The Amazing Race was aired across Asia on AXN.  One of the team of racers was Josh and Brent, a couple who own and operate a goat farm in upstate New York.  Josh and Brent have been in a monogamous relationship for 14 years, and are currently engaged to be married.

But of course, AXN didn't want anyone to know or see that.

When I watched the episode, I was a little curious why Josh and Brent's intro segment was so short.  The other teams (consisting of sibling pairs, best friends, (hetero) dating couples, and (hetero) married couples), all had longer intros, showing their backgrounds, their lives, and, if they're a couple, their love for each other.

But not Josh and Brent.  My girlfriend and I thought, "Wait a sec, something's not right here."

So, to satisfy my curiosity, I turned to YouTube to find the full version of episode 1; the version aired in North America and Europe.  Sure enough, I found that AXN Asia had actually and literally clipped Josh and Brent's intro segment by nearly half, removing video that showed them interacting like an actual couple, including footage of them walking in their yard while holding hands.

My goodness yes, how terribly scandalous.  We wouldn't want Asians to be exposed to reality, now would we, AXN?

Granted, I understand that AXN probably doesn't give a damn about whether or not Josh and Brent are an engaged couple holding hands.  Most TV networks understand that program producers have artistic license and expressive freedom to do what they want.  But the problem is that Singapore does not understand that.  

AXN Asia is based in Singapore and broadcast throughout Asia, and as such it has to follow Singapore law (specifically the Free-to-Air Television Programme Code, Part 5) which states that TV programs must not "promote, justify, or glamorise" homosexuality in any form.  Unfortunately for the rest of Asia -- aside from Malaysia which has equally archaic and homophobic broadcast laws itself -- everyone else's viewing experience in Asia has to be under Singaporean censorship as well.  

Essentially, if you're watching TV in Asia you have to live under the strict Singaporean censorship rules if the network you're watching is based in Singapore, or the often equally-strict Hong Kong censorship rules if the network is based in Hong Kong.

I hope those bigoted cavemen are proud of themselves.  What wonderful progress Asia is making these days...


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