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Disney Channel pulls tween show from South Africa due to gay storyline

Disney Channel pulls tween show from South Africa due to gay storyline

Andi Mack actor Joshua Rush celebrating the start of season two

Disney Channel has pulled tween show Andi Mack from South Africa because of a gay storyline.

Character Cyrus will be exploring his sexuality over the coming season after developing feelings for another boy, Jonah.

It will be the networks first LGBTI storyline.

Andi Mack was last week (2 November) banned in Kenya because of the storyline.

Disney Channel airs in South Africa through TV service DStv.

They released a statement explaining: ‘Disney Channel creates stories that entertain and inspire kids and families and reflect the rich diversity of the human experience.

‘While our shows are developed for global audiences we are committed to respecting each market’s cultural sensibilities, compliance rules and regulations.

‘Disney Channel in South Africa serves multiple countries across Africa and the Middle East, each with its own regulations to which we adhere.

‘Accordingly, Andi Mack will not be broadcast through DStv. However, we are exploring alternative ways to make the series available to its fans in South Africa.’

‘It’s borderline discrimination’

In the season 2 premiere of Andi Mack, 13-year-old Cyrus revealed he had a crush on a boy.

15-year-old Joshua Rush plays Cyrus.

One scene in the premiere see’s him confiding in friend Buffy.

This scene is intended to provide viewers with ‘positive role models for children – and adults – watching.’

Future episodes will follow Cyrus’ journey of coming to terms with his sexuality.

Transgender and Intersex Africa director Tebogo Nkwane told IOL: ‘The society we are living in today still does not accept gays and lesbians still, and from this situation alone it shows that they don’t accept gays,

‘We really should be talking more about these issues. If we don’t educate children, how will they know how to respond when they encounter someone who is different?

‘It’s borderline discrimination. It portrays that our community is immoral and if the media is not covering these issues how are we supposed to learn?’

Disney Channel reportedly spoke to a number of child development experts and LGBT groups to ensure the story arc was age-appropriate and respectful. GLAAD was one of the organizations they spoke to.

Sarah Kate Ellis is the President and CEO of GLAAD.

She said: ‘Television reflects the real life world. Today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows.’

Watch the scene where Cyrus comes out to his friend below.