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Film and TV

Singapore broadcaster issues grovelling apology after portraying gay people as paedophiles on primetime TV

Patrick Kelleher July 15, 2020
Chase Tan Singapore My Guardian Angels

Chase Tan in My Guardian Angels

A television series in Singapore has faced backlash over a homophobic storyline in which a gay man sexually abuses a teenage boy.

The dangerous myth that gay people are paedophiles has dogged the LGBT+ community for decades, but that didn’t stop My Guardian Angels from playing into the harmful stereotype.

The series, which is made by Singapore’s national broadcaster Mediacorp, featured a gay basketball coach with a sexually transmitted disease who then sexually abused a teenage boy.

The storyline has been heavily criticised by Singapore’s LGBT+ community, with many pointing out that the show is peddling homophobic tropes.

The national broadcaster has faced sustained backlash over the character.

Teo Yu Sheng has been taking Mediacorp to task on the portrayal since the episode aired. In an Instagram post on Monday (July 13), he said the character was “extremely harmful to the LGBT+ community” and said it “perpetuates the stereotype that gay men are predatory paedophiles with STDs.”

Throughout history, minority groups have often been stereotyped as representing a danger to others in society, this includes the portrayal of homosexual men as paedophiles.

Meanwhile, Singaporean organisation Action for AIDS called on the broadcaster to put an end to “homophobic portrayals in its productions” and accused them of “propagating distorted stories”.

“Throughout history, minority groups have often been stereotyped as representing a danger to others in society, this includes the portrayal of homosexual men as paedophiles,” Action for AIDS said.

“Scientific evidence does not support this.”

The storyline has also been widely condemned by LGBT+ Singaporeans on social media.

The Singapore broadcaster has apologised for the ‘harmful’ gay storyline.

Mediacorp issued an apology and clarification yesterday (July 14) following sustained criticism from the LGBT+ community in Singapore.

The organisation said it was “sorry to have caused offence and distress” and said they had “no intention” of discriminating against queer people.

“The intention and overall message of this sub-plot is to encourage young people to be aware of potential dangers, and not be afraid to speak up and protect themselves,” the broadcaster added.

“Mediacorp has hitherto depicted paedohphiles preying on young girls in other dramas.

“In both scenarios, there was no intention to depict the LGBT+ community in a negative light.

“We are sorry to have caused offence and stress. We have heard your feedback and will continue to exercise vigilance and be mindful of our portrayal of characters.”

 

 

More: Homophobia, homophobic trope, Mediacorp, My Guardian Angels, Singapore

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