Sunday night at the Academy Awards saw both singer-turned-actress Lady Gaga and actor Rami Malek take home Oscars, both for the first time ever. While many lauded their wins for A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody respectively as well deserved, it would appear that the entire government of China felt differently.
When the awards show was aired in the Asian country, every single appearance of Lady Gaga had been censored out, and Malek’s acceptance speech had been edited, according to The Daily Mail.
During the announcement of the nominees, each time Lady Gaga was mentioned, her face was censored out with a blurry square, and her actual performance on stage was cut completely from the screening. The online announcement of the nominees in the category of Best Actress also excluded Lady Gaga from the lineup completely. They haven’t clarified what they intended to do had she won that category.
The station in question is Mango TV, an online streaming television service associated with Hunan Television.
Fans of Lady Gaga living in China were furious that she was so deliberately — and poorly — erased from the awards ceremony, with some taking to Twitter-like social media site Weibo to complain about it.
Here’s a view how folks in China watched the Oscars ???????????? pic.twitter.com/aSOqzRhmXk
— Jon Osman (@TheActor_movie) February 26, 2019
It is widely believed that the reason for the unceremonious exclusion from the Academy Awards is as a result of the fact that Lady Gaga has met on friendly terms with the Dalai Lama. The holy figure is banned from China because he believes that Tibet should be free of the communist country, and many who have associated with him in the past have fallen into the Chinese government’s black books.
Despite Mango TV’s decision to omit Lady Gaga, China Central Television Station apparently did not censor her through their screening.
As for Malek’s acceptance speech, it was again Mango TV that came under fire. This time, the explanation is that the broadcaster does not want to share any openly gay content with its viewers. Malek played Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic.
As a result, when Malek said “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself,” during his acceptance speech, Mango TV edited it so that the audience heard “special group” instead of the word “gay.”
Angered users took to Weibo to argue that the deliberate action constitutes homophobic censorship when they realized what had been done, and demanded an apology for both the actions taken against Lady Gaga and Malek during the broadcast.