Viral Bohemian Rhapsody ‘kiss challenge’ shows the world all love is equal after censors blurred gay scenes
The South Korean broadcaster SBS came under fire after it decided to edit out gay kisses in Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The Saturday evening broadcast cut out scenes of men kissing and used manual blurring effects to obscure background shots where gay couples were visible.
SBS defended the move by saying the kissing scenes were “very long” and could have made families “uncomfortable”. However, the decision has garnered criticism from the LGBT+ community in South Korea and worldwide.
YouTubers Kim and Backpack, known by their channel name TV Mango Couple, issued a challenge to normalise all kisses – whether straight, gay, familial or even by yourself – in the wake of SBS’s decision.
The “Bohemian Kiss Challenge” is easy: Take a video or picture of a kiss and upload it to social media with the hashtags ‘#BohemianKissChallenge’ and ‘#AllKissesAreEqual’.
The YouTubers, who have been a couple for eight years and have over 211,000 subscribers, share videos about their lives as gay men in South Korea and the unique challenges the LGBT+ community faces in the conservative country.
Backpack said: “It doesn’t matter what kind of kiss you do. Just post pictures of videos of you kissing, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not actually a couple.”
He suggested people can even kiss the back of their hand to show their “willingness to participate in this challenge” and to normalise all kisses.
The video has already garnered over 19,000 views less than a day after it was posted, and there has been traction for the challenge online.
One person who participated posted a drawing of two women kissing, writing: “I felt the same feeling while watching the broadcast [Bohemian Rhapsody] during the holiday season, so I participated in the challenge.
“We cannot upload photos because we are not openly queer, so we have drawn pictures to participate!”
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Another took a picture of themselves kissing a family member and their hand, writing they would “take any change to smother” their niece in kisses.
— Mɪɴᴛ ᴄʜᴏᴄᴏʟᴀᴛᴇ ᴀɴᴅ Bᴇᴀᴜᴛɪғᴜʟ ʜᴜᴍᴀɴs (@NarcissusBlooms) February 17, 2021
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Bohemian Rhapsody censorship an “insult” to Freddie Mercury’s memory.
LGBT+ advocacy group Rainbow Action has also issued a statement condemning SBS for deleting the same-sex kissing scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. The group said: “Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic not only about Freddie Mercury’s music but also his life as a sexual minority.
“SBS’s decision to delete or blur same-sex kiss scenes was an insult to not only the late Mr Mercury but also the entire LGBT community.”
The group said the channel should have also fully conveyed the message of the film and Mercury’s life when they decided to air the movie. It also called for measures to promote diversity and prevent discrimination against the LGBT+ community in the future.