China’s first gay web series has been removed from streaming sites.
Addicted – a 15-episode series about a gay high school couple – vanished from the internet without warning on Monday (February 22), leaving angry fans in the country unable to watch the last three episodes.
According to local media reports, censors took issue with the show’s depiction of “abnormal sexual behaviour” and “romance between minors.”
The move comes a week after box office smash hit Deadpool was also banned in the country.
Addicted became massively popular over the Chinese New Year holiday – especially among younger female fans.
The first episode broke records when it was released on January 29 – receiving 10 million hits in just 24 hours.
Furthermore, in an online poll by the Chengdu Committee for the Well-being of Youth and Teenagers, more than 93% of the 20,000 respondents disapproved of the show’s removal.
“The SAPPRFT (decision) is too much. Is it necessary? It’s so unpopular,” said a user on China’s Twitter-esque Weibo.
However, Addiction’s writer and producer – who uses the pseudonym Chaijidan – said filming for the second season would “not be impacted” by the ban.
The show’s Weibo account said the final three episodes would be available on YouTube – another site blocked in China.
Homosexuality was removed from China’s official list of mental disorders in 2001 but remains a taboo subject.
The ad series, titled ‘Love is not a Choice’, launched on social media in the country – and is aimed at breaking China’s strong cultural taboo surrounding homosexuality.
The ads feature gay couples in their homes, and read: “Love is not a choice. We did not choose to be homosexual. We just are. Happily, the world is big enough for all of us.”
Watch the trailer for Addicted below: