BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber scrapped from Friends: The Reunion on Chinese streaming sites

Ellie Abraham@ellieabraham
Friday 28 May 2021 10:37
TV
BTS, as seen on the Friends reunion special(Sky)

The hotly-anticipated Friends reunion aired around the world recently, but in China’s version of the special, some notable stars were missing.

Huge global stars BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber were all absent from the Chinese broadcast across the three streaming channels that had the rights to air the programme.

As well as the notable celebrity absences, the country also removed any LGBTQ+ references.

The pop icons are suspected to have been removed because they’ve been deemed to have insulted China before, the BBC reported.

South Korean boyband BTS are believed to have angered China over comments made about the Korean War, with their 13-second segment removed from the episode as an apparent result.

Lady Gaga remains banned from performing in the country after she met with Tibetan Buddhist monk the Dalai Lama in 2016. In the reunion show, she performed the character Phoebe’s iconic song “Smelly Cat”.

Bieber is also banned from the country for “bad behaviour” after he posted an image of himself visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

The beloved ‘90s sitcom is extremely popular in China and fans around the world have been excited to see the six cast members reunite after the show ended in 2004. Chinese fans were disappointed with the omissions made.

On Weibo, a microblogging platform, one user wrote: “Help! Are we never going to move on and change? This will just make me want to find out more about the cut scenes.”

The show is credited among many Chinese millennials for helping teach them English and introducing them to American culture.

With a large following in the country, many have been able to source the missing scenes from the show as they have been shared on social media and pirate websites.

It’s unclear whether the government ordered the censorship, or whether the streaming sites iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video did it themselves. But eagle-eyed fans noticed there were differing running times on each streaming site.

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