Downton Abbey gay kiss cut by Greek state television
NET accused of succumbing to political and religious pressure, but channel says kiss was edited in line with parental guidelines
The Downton Abbey footman is played by Robert James-Collier. Photograph: Gallo Images/Rex Features
Greek state television has come under fire from the country's main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss on the premiere of the British period dramaDownton Abbey.
Greek people took to social networking sites including Twitter to complain about the NET channel's decision to axe a scene from episode one of the series showing a kiss between a visiting duke and Downton's unscrupulous footman Thomas. NET defended its move, citing parental guidance viewing rules.
"As incredible as it may seem for a democratic country in the 21st century, officials of the NET television channel censored the scene of a kiss between men from the TV drama Downton Abbey," the Syriza party said in a statement.
"This is of course an obvious case of censorship, an extreme act of homophobia and discrimination which unfortunately, after what has been happening recently, we cannot characterise as unprecedented."
The Syriza politician Dimitris Papadimoulis questioned in a tweet whether the omission was due to pressure from the far-right Golden (GD) Dawn party or religious authorities: "NET 'cut' a gay kiss on the premiere of a top TV series. Who decided this censorship? (Bishop) Seraphim of Piraeus and GD?"
Greek state television said the kiss was not censored but edited out to comply with rules on the time slot and parental consent label given to the show, which was aired at 10.05pm on Monday. An unedited version would be broadcast later on Tuesday night, it said.
"The love affair between the two men … was not censored," said Costas Spyropoulos, managing director of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. "The kiss was not shown because of the time the programme was broadcast and the corresponding parental guidance warnings."