How Beijing Butchered Sean Penn’s “Commie, Homo-Loving” Oscar Speech
Posted on March 3, 2009
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In recent days, journalists around the globe have reported on the efforts of Asian governments to censor speech and images in support of gay rights from the broadcast of last Sunday’s Oscars. According to the AP, the Hong Kong-based, Murdoch-owned STAR network, reaching more than 300 million viewers in 53 countries, muted any mention of “gay” or “lesbian” during its tape-delayed, English-language re-broadcast of the Oscars. Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black, who both won Oscars for their work on the film Milk, used their time at the podium to voice support for same-sex marriage and equal rights for gays and lesbians.
In mainland China, where the Academy awards was broadcast with Chinese subtitles on state-run China Central Television (CCTV), censors did not mute out material deemed sensitive, but rather, and even more shamefully, omitted or mistranslated all language and images dealing with homosexuality. According to a Monday post on the China-based blog Shanghaiist, the CCTV broadcast cut out two gay kisses shown during the broadcast and completely eliminated Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech after he won for best original screenplay.
Black, who is openly gay, invoked Harvey Milk in his speech and promised equal rights “very soon” to the nation’s gay youth. “If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago,” Black said, “I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value.” While Black’s speech was widely considered one of the more moving and memorable moments from this year’s Oscars, for viewers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Taiwan and Thailand, the speech was heavily censored, while those in mainland China didn’t hear a word of it.
For anyone who missed it, here’s Dustin Lance Black’s speech: @ How Beijing Butchered Sean Penn’s “Commie, Homo-Loving” Oscar Speech
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