A leading Arabic broadcaster has ‘named and shamed’ eight international celebrities for their ‘homosexuality’ – and got it wrong.
The Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) delivers news and entertainment to 150 million Arabic speakers around the world.
The Arabic word they use for homosexuality translates literally as ‘sexually abnormal’.
MBC says they ‘shocked the world with their announcement of their sexuality’.
Here is the list with a translation of MBC’s frequently inaccurate claims and comments:
- Ricky Martin: ‘One of the first who announced their sexuality.’
- Cameron Diaz: ‘Stated that she prefers making love to women even though she was in a relationship with Justin Timberlake. She doesn’t mind making love to a man but prefers having a long term relationship with a woman.’
- Jodie Foster: ‘Got married to her partner, the photographer Alexandra Hedison lately.’
- Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter’s actor, announced his sexuality.
- Lindsay Lohan: ‘Has previously announced her homosexuality. She was engaged to Samantha Ronson and they were planning to get married but they broke up before marriage.’
- Ellen DeGeneres: ‘The star and famous TV presenter preferred to get married to her partner Portia De Rossi and they have been living together for a couple of years.’
- Elton John: ‘The global musician has not just announced his sexuality, but got married and wore a wedding dress from his boyfriend David Furnish and had kids using surrogacy.’
- Neil Patrick Harris: ‘His boyfriend and him had twins the same way as Elton.’
The list ignores crucial facts, including that Radcliffe is straight, albeit a vocal supporter of LGBTI rights, and that Martin didn’t come out as gay until 2010.
It comes during a ramping up of rhetoric and even physical attacks and arrests of LGBTI people in the region.
The Middle East Broadcasting Center has previously been more neutral on gay issues. In 2010 it reported on Martin coming out in a neutral way and as recently as 3 January this year it reported he had split with his partner without saying his sexuality was a ‘disgrace’.
MBC was the first private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab world and is now headquartered in Dubai. Its show Scoop with Raya, fronted by a Lebanese TV presenter, is focused on reporting Hollywood and celebrity news.