Channel Ten has drawn criticism for censoring references to gay sex and relationships from one of its programs.
During a screening of Glee episode ‘I Do’ last Tuesday night, dialogue and footage was cut from several implied sex scenes and sexual discussions between male and female same-sex partners.
However, the episode’s numerous heterosexual sex scenes were not edited in any way, despite containing more explicit material.
The edits were met with widespread criticism on social media from fans angry at the network’s perceived double standard.
A spokeswoman from Network Ten said the edits were made “due to a self-harm reference and sexual references” because Glee is broadcast at 7.30pm, which is “a PG time slot”.
“These [edits] were not related to the same sex nature of the content, but due to the level of the sexual reference. Network Ten does not discriminate on the basis of sexuality – it is worth noting that Glee is one of the few series on TV which includes same-sex relationships,” the spokeswoman said.
When questioned on the fact that opposite-gender sexual scenes remained unedited, the spokeswoman said the decision to edit certain scenes took “context and cumulative impact” into consideration, but offered no further explanation.
Glee was moved to secondary Ten channel Eleven in February due to poor ratings, but Ten kept the show in a 7.30pm timeslot requiring it to meet a PG rating. Moving Glee to an 8.30pm timeslot would have enabled Ten to broadcast the program with an M or MA rating.
FOX, which broadcasts Glee in the US, announced a 9pm timeslot for the premiere of the show’s fourth season in September, due to its more mature content.
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) media officer Blake Murdoch said that censoring program content was at the discretion of networks as long as they met ACMA classification standards.
“Each network has their own censors, and as long as they meet the requirements it’s up to them entirely. Broadcasters can do what they want, unfortunately – you can’t complain about something that’s not there,” Murdoch said.
In 2010, ACMA forced Channel Nine to edit scenes of gay horror soap Dante’s Cove after the network displayed unedited scenes of full frontal male nudity and gay sex.