Chinese fans were shock to find that top streaming platforms in their country had censored HBO Max's "Friends: The Reunion".
"Friends" had amassed millions of fans around the world after it aired for 10 years in the 90s but China is the place where the reunion is highly anticipated compared to other countries.
Chinese streaming platforms like iQiyi, Youku, and Tencent Video had remove at least six minutes of footage from the reunion. The contents removed includes the special appearances from Lady Gaga, BTS, and Justin Bieber.
It also removed clips where they showed gay fans as well as the "pee and shot" of Matt Le Blanc. Many fans were disappointed had them wondering why they would remove such content.
According to Variety, the Grammy award-winning singer Lady Gaga, who performed her rendition of the song "Smelly Cat" at the reunion, received a persona non grata from China in 2016 and has been banned from entering the country. This came after her meeting with Dalai Lama which they tackled the topic of compassion, she was accused by China of being a dangerous separist.
October of last year when Chinese nationalists publicly accused the Korean boy band BTS for insulting China. They said that the boys failed to recognize the sacrifices of Chinese soldiers during the Korean War after BTS were awarded a prize for contributing to US and Korea relations. This, however, does not have any relation to China.
In Justin Bieber's case, he was banned by Beijing Municipal Bureau from performing in China after a "series of bad behavior".
Besides the musical artists mentioned above, China had also censored a handful of LGBTQIA+ references from the show. The platforms had removed footages from a fan named Ricardo who expressed his sentiments about the show.
They had also removed a video of a gay couple where a woman showed her girlfriend on camera and saying "Like every Chandler, I found my Monica,". As well as notable throwback scenes where the character Joey opens his robe and appears to be half-naked with a picture of Ross in his underwear.
The original runtime of the show which aired in HBO Max is 1:43:50, on the other hand, Chinese streaming platforms have much lesser.
The artists mentioned above as well as the main cast of "Friends" has not commented on China's censorship of the show.