I am Cait will no longer be shown in Africa following complaints from viewers. I am Cait focuses on Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender journey. Nigerian parents have complained that the show’s content is inappropriate for children and unacceptable according to their laws governing same sex relationships.
The decision to drop the show came after a request from the Nigerian authorities. MultiChoice confirmed that the show, which airs on DStv and Gotv, has been canned amidst concerns from customers. MultiChoice released a statement addressing customer and Nigerian authority concerns.
“MultiChoice recognizes the importance of respecting the views of its customers and all regulatory environments within which its service operates. After careful consideration‚ MultiChoice would like to inform its valued subscribers that the show will no longer air on the channel across our platforms.”
DStv service broadcasts to the entire African continent; therefore, the show will no longer be shown anywhere in Africa. The choice was made by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to drop the show. This is NBC’s second request to drop a show revolving around transgender content. Last October, NBC asked MultiChoice to stop broadcasting I Am Jazz, a show about transgender teen Jazz Jennings.
— Globaltake News (@globaltakenews) May 27, 2016
Critics say the move may set a precedent where a single country, in this case Nigeria, can effectively decide what TV content viewers across an entire continent can or cannot view on a cable network.
NBCUniversal International Networks removed the remaining episodes from May and June schedules on DStv, but issued a brief statement standing by the diversity range of content it produces around the world.
“E! stands by the diverse range of content it produces and broadcasts around the world. As an international channel‚ we recognize that regulatory environments vary across the world and we always seek to comply with regulations in the countries where we broadcast. As this matter relates directly DStv and the Nigerian regulatory authorities‚ this issue is for their comment.”
The remaining episodes of the second season of I Am Cait have been wiped from E! Entertainment on DStv Network in Nigeria. While the show contains no violence, nudity, or sex on a cable channel that can be regulated by parental controls, I Am Cait contains ideas that Nigerian authorities do not want the people of Africa exposed to.
DStv and E! have been forced to take I Am Cait off in Africa: https://t.co/dp37zi6hv0
— Tuks FM 107.2 News (@TuksFMNews) May 27, 2016
In 2014, the Nigerian government criminalized homosexuality. The law punishes acts of homosexuality with imprisonment up to 14 years. In some regions under the nation’s law, homosexuality can result in death by stoning.
The Nigerian Senate voted through a bill that gay marriage is forbidden. The bill was signed into law by former President Goodluck Johnson. Any same sex couple attempting to marry can be sentenced up to 14 years in prison and 10 years for those who serve as witnesses of the matrimony, Pink News reported.
Nigeria also rejected calls from President Barack Obama to repeal the anti-gay law stating, “sodomy is against the law in Nigeria, and abhorrent to our culture.” With the law, Nigeria forbids individuals from running same sex clubs, societies, processions, or meetings. The punishment for such acts is imprisonment, carrying up to a 10 year sentence.
NBCUniversal International has not said whether it’s scared that the censorship is setting a dangerous precedent for its future programming, or how the removal of I Am Cait will influence what future programming it might schedule for E! Channel.
Justin Stephenson, the vice president for advertising sales for the UK and emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks incidentally visited Lagos to speak at DStv Nigeria’s Media Sales Showcase about its channels on DStv. The company declined media request for a copy of the speech he made. MultiChoice Africa will release its response later this week.
[Photo by Rich Fury/AP Images]