We all know that China is quite a strict country when it comes to what its population can and cannot do, and this certainly stretches to what they can and cannot watch, too. It seems no form of media, be it film or television, is sacred when it comes to censorship in China, after the sitcom series Friends becomes the latest victim of heavy-handed editing from the China Communist Party.
The hit show, widely-considered one of the best TV series of all time, began airing in China from Friday February 11, 2022, but keen-eyed viewers who were already familiar with the series noticed some major differences between the version they were watching, and the original American version of Friends.
It has been reported that multiple scenes have been omitted from various episodes of the sitcom, most notably those involving the lesbian storyline of Ross Geller’s ex-wife Carol and her lover Susan. In light of this, many fans of the show are now calling out the censorship, for its treatment of LGBTQ+ storylines.
In a report from Reuters, it appears numerous streaming services in China, including Tencent, Youku, and Bilibili have released the censored content. Along with the lesbian scenes being deleted, it appears mentions of a visit to a strip club have also been removed from another episode.
Another, perhaps more concerning issue, is the fact that the outcry of fans on social media is being silenced too. According to the report, the hashtag associated with the complaints has been buried and has no search results.
This is not the first time we have seen China censor popular media properties, with Fight Club suffering a similar fate last month. In that instance, the decision to change the ending of the thriller movie was ultimately reversed. Only time will tell as to whether a similar change of heart will occur with the Friends episodes affected.
You can watch every episode of Friends, uncensored, on Netflix right now.