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Chinese broadcaster ‘straight-washes’ Rami Malek’s Oscar speech

Chinese broadcaster ‘straight-washes’ Rami Malek’s Oscar speech

Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor award at the Oscars (Photo: Weibo)

People are accusing a Chinese broadcaster showing the Oscars on Sunday (24 February) of straight-washing Rami Malek’s speech.

‘We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically as himself’ Malek said as he was handed the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

The biopic of the Queen frontman and queer icon picked up four Oscar’s at Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles.

But, China’s Mango TV translated Malek’s ‘gay man’ as ‘special group’.

Tens of thousands of users shared screenshots of the mistranslation on Chinese social media, according to BBC News.

‘Even the word “gay” can’t appear on our screens, this is so sad’ one user wrote.

China’s censors

Mango TV irked Eurovision last year by screening censoring several moments of the semi-final, including LGBTI content. Eurovision eventually banned Mango TV from airing the final.

China legalized gay sex in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental illnesses in 2001. But, in a conservative and family-orientated society, many LGBTI Chinese live in the closet.

In June 2017, China’s state censorship body labeled homosexuality ‘abnormal sexual behavior’. It banned it from television and online.

Internet users launched a #IAMGAY viral protest on China’s social media platform, Weibo, after it banned LGBTI content.

Finally, the website backtracked in a rare win for the community. A court in Beijing last year ruled the country’s ban on online LGBTI content was lawful.

Bohemian Rhapsody, meanwhile, has faced criticism of straight-washing, bi-erasure and glossing over issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Malek on Sunday was criticized for describing Mercury as gay rather than bisexual.