Disney Channel has pulled one of its biggest children’s shows from air after outrage at a gay storyline.
In the second season of Andi Mack, 13-year-old character Cyrus develops feelings for a fellow teenage boy, Jonah.
In scenes aired last week Cyrus came out to one of his best friends as gay, with his friend telling him with a smile: “You’re no different.”
The same-sex story has caused outrage among anti-gay activists and was last week banned from air in Kenya.
Now Disney Channel has caved into pressure from homophobes – pulling the show from air in as many as 50 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
Disney will no longer air the show DStv, the network that broadcasts the channel in 50 countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mauritius and Tanzania as well as parts of the Middle East.
In a statement Disney said: “Disney Channel creates stories that entertain and inspire kids and families and reflect the rich diversity of the human experience.
“While our shows are developed for global audiences we are committed to respecting each market’s cultural sensibilities, compliance rules and regulations.
“Disney Channel in South Africa serves multiple countries across Africa and the Middle East, each with its own regulations to which we adhere.
“Accordingly, Andi Mack will not be broadcast through DStv.
“However, we are exploring alternative ways to make the series available to its fans in South Africa.”
The outrage comes despite Disney Channel consulting child development experts and LGBT groups to ensure the show was age-appropriate.
Film Classification Board bosses in Kenya banned the programme days later.
Ezekiel Mutua, CEO of the board, tweeted the news with the message: “Children must be given correct information that family is a union between people of opposite gender”.
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The truth, of course, is that children of same-sex parents do just as well as kids of opposite-sex parents.
The biggest threat to same-sex parents’ kids is – logically enough – discrimination.
On Facebook, the government appointed official went further.
He wrote: “Gay Content Will Not Air in Kenya. . .PERIOD!
“When it comes to protecting children from exposure to bad content we are resolute and unapologetic.
“The institution of family is sancrosanct [sic].
“It’s the basic unit of society and it’s derived from a union between a man and a woman. Any other doctrine, teaching or information is a heresy and a travesty!”
Multichoice, which distributes Disney programmes, confirmed that Andi Mack was not scheduled to air in Kenya anyway.