Friends: The Reunion faces censorship in China, airs edited special without Lady Gaga, BTS, Justin Bieber

Friends The Reunion, which aired on China’s streaming platforms Youku, iQIYI and Tencent Video, had entirely edited out scenes starring Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, BTS

FP Trending May 28, 2021 11:15:12 IST
Friends: The Reunion faces censorship in China, airs edited special without Lady Gaga, BTS, Justin Bieber

After much anticipation and wait, Friends: The Reunion finally dropped on HBO Max, ZEE5 (in India) and other streaming services on Thursday, 27 May worldwide. As fans watched the show with much cheer and smile all over the world, the Chinese version of the reunion episode was a little different from the original.

Three of China’s biggest streaming platforms Youku, iQIYI and Tencent Video are streaming the special. But, the platforms have entirely edited out scenes starring American pop singers Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and the famous South Korean boy band BTS, reports Variety.

Mentioning the deleted scenes, it includes a part where singer Lady Gaga joins Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) for a duet performance on the popular song ‘Smelly Cat’. Then a cameo of Justin Bieber channelling Ross Geller in his potato-themed Halloween costume was also edited. Meanwhile, a small video message from BTS, where a member of the group opens up on how the show Friends helped him learn to speak English has also been removed.

While other guest stars including David Beckham, Cindy Crawford, Mindy Kaling, and Malala Yousafzai remained in the Chinese version.

As fans expressed anger for cutting several scenes, many came out in support of the censorship. They said that those who have ‘slandered China should indeed be banned’. It is currently unclear whether the editing was ordered by the Chinese censor board or done by the three platforms.

Looking back at the conflict between Lady Gaga and China, she hasn’t performed in the country since she met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2016. After her meeting, Chinese authorities issued a notice effectively banning her from the country, writes Vice.

Coming to Bieber, he was barred from performing in China because of his “bad behaviour” during a visit. In 2017, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture had also confirmed reports stating that Bieber’s behaviour had caused “discontent among the public”. He was earlier in trouble too in 2014 for photographing himself visiting Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni war shrine.

While BTS has totally been boycotted from the country after an award acceptance speech went viral. Last year in October, BTS was slammed for not mentioning the sacrifices of Chinese soldiers in the Korean War for a prize celebrating the group’s contributions to US-Korea relations.

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