A Lebanese TV show has secretly filmed LGBTI people enjoying an innocent drag night at a bar and branded them ‘perverts’.
The Lilnasher show hosted by Tony Khalife on the New Tv (Al Jadid) channel is well known for tabloid-style reporting.
But this week the gay community of Beirut again found themselves in the firing line.
The revelers at Posh, an LGBTI bar, were celebrating Saint Barbara’s day or Eid il-Burbara.
It’s a similar event to western Halloween, celebrated by Christians in Lebanon and surrounding countries. Many had dressed in drag.
The TV show blanked out faces in their final video report but were keen to point out they had seen politicians, diplomats, journalists and sons of celebrities at Posh.
They labeled the party’s guests as ‘perverts’, a leading gay activist in Beirut who did not want to be named, told GSN.
He added: ‘This kind of show is always attacking. It is to bring society against LGBTs.’
He predicted it will impact on people’s willingness to go out on the city’s small but busy gay scene, and is expecting that to happen from this weekend in the wake of the show.
And he said the city’s authorities may be now monitoring the venue more closely as a result.
The activist told us: ‘Some people reported police were now coming to the road in front of the bar and following them to their cars to investigate what they were doing but this is not confirmed.’
Georges Azzi, from leading LGBTI organization Helem, told us: ‘The Lebanese media in general has been very supportive in the last few years.’
‘This specific program is a very cheap program but it is not directly representative of the media.
‘People just get used to the idea this might happen any time. But I think there should be action from the community to protect itself so I think the community should not go to this place.’
It comes days after a tabloid-style magazine, Al Jaras, ‘exposed’ a new club, called OM, due to open in Beirut.
They described the LGBTI venue as being for perverts and prostitutes to engage in immorality and suggested it was going to be a brothel.
The owners were taken in by the police for questioning and subsequently the venue didn’t open.
You can see the Posh segment here. It is the last 10 minutes of the show (in Arabic):