Eurovision cancels Chinese broadcast due to LGBTQ censorship

Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy performs "Together" in the first semifinal of 2018 Eurovision Song Contest at Lisbon Arena.
Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy performs “Together” in the first semifinal of 2018 Eurovision Song Contest at Lisbon Arena.

Image: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

Following allegations of LBGTQ and tattoo censorship, the remainder of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest will no longer be broadcast in China.

The decision comes from Eurovision’s organiser, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), who terminated the agreement with China’s Mango TV on Thursday. 

As per the BBC, reports surfaced about the internet broadcaster blurring out the flags of Albania, Ireland, and the LGBTQ flags during the first semi-final of this year’s contest, as well as editing out the performances by Irish and Albanian contestants.

The Chinese broadcast omitted the song “Together” by Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy, which featured two male dancers on stage in a same-sex relationship. 

China has banned the depiction of LGBTQ relationships on TV since 2016.

Albania’s entrant, Eugent Bushpepa, also reportedly failed to appear in Mango TV’s broadcast. 

Bushpepa and his bandmates are tattooed, thus contravening recent Chinese bans on showing tattoos and hip-hop culture on TV.

“This is not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music,” the EBU said in a statement online.

“It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final.”

O’Shaugnessy told the BBC he welcomed the decision by the EBU to cancel the broadcast.

“From the very start we’ve said love is love — doesn’t matter whether it’s between two guys, two girls or a guy and a girl, so I think this is a really important decision by the EBU,” he said. 

“They haven’t taken this lightly and I think it’s a move in the right direction so I’m happy about it.”

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