‘Friends’ Reunion Is Censored in China, Cutting BTS, and Lady Gaga
Written by laserteam on May 28, 2021
(Variety) – China’s top streaming platforms censored around six minutes of material from HBO Max’s “Friends: The Reunion” special on the day of its debut Thursday, deleting footage of artists like BTS previously deemed to have “insulted” China, gay fans, references to pee and a shot of Matt LeBlanc in his underwear, among other moments.
“Friends” has amassed a huge, devoted following in China over the years, and thousands of fans had expressed their excitement for the special across all local social media platforms ahead of its release.
But many said they were “bewildered” to find that all three of the country’s major streaming platforms with rights to officially broadcast the show — iQiyi, Alibaba’s Youku and Tencent Video — had entirely cut appearances by musicians BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, as well as other scenes.
BTS, Gaga and Bieber are all artists who have run afoul of Beijing in the past.
All three Chinese platforms cut the musicians out of the “Friends” special entirely.
In BTS’ offending 13-second clip, the K-pop superstars express their love for the series, with member RM saying the show “really taught [him] things about life and true friendship.”
The Chinese version allows Kudrow to sing a verse of the song for about 45 seconds on her own before jumping to the next post-Gaga segment.
Later, Bieber’s strut down a catwalk to show off a beloved potato costume from the show, “Spudnik,” disappears without a trace.