Canadian actor, writer, director, and producer Daniel Joseph Levy, also known as Dan Levy, slammed Comedy Central India for censoring a kiss between two men in a promo clip the channel had tweeted one and a half years ago. Daniel Levy is the co-creator and an actor in the sitcom Schitt’s Creek, which was aired by Comedy Central India in India, and a promo of the show was tweeted by Comedy Central India on 19th March 2019 which attracted the attention of Levy on 6th September 2020.
Responding to the clip, Dan Levy tweeted, “You showed the kiss between two women, you showed the kiss between a woman and a man, then removed the kiss between two men? This is a show about the power of inclusivity. The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement against that message.”
You showed the kiss between two women, you showed the kiss between a woman and a man, then removed the kiss between two men? This is a show about the power of inclusivity. The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement against that message. #loveislove https://t.co/3ouNbuetq1— dan levy (@danjlevy) October 6, 2020
The clip in question is from the fifth season of the show, which showed a scene when several characters in the show were playing the kissing game ‘spin the bottle’. In the scene, it is seen that Stevie Budd (played by Emily Hampshire) spins the bottle, and it lands on Alexis Rose (played by Annie Murphy), and the two women share a short kiss as per the rules of the game. After that, Alexis spins the bottle which lands on her boyfriend Ted Mullens (Dustin Milligan), and they also kiss each other. Next, it is the turn of Ted to spin the bottle, which lands on David Rose (played by Dan Levy).
Seeing this situation, others in the game ask Ted to re-spin to avoid the awkward situation, saying that the bottle landed between two people. But Ted shows sportsman spirit and moves forward to kiss David. But the moment he reaches David, the scene is abruptly cut, and moves to a shot when the two men have finished the kiss. After that, the clip continues for some more moments, showing conversation among the characters following the game.
Therefore, while the former two kisses between two women and a man and a woman are shown in the promo, the kiss between the two men was censored by the channel in its promo, which irked Levy.
I thought I made this pretty clear but for those who are confused, this is about a channel in India. @ComedyCentral in America is not censoring the show. They have been lovely and respectful. Thank you for your time. ✌🏼🙃— dan levy (@danjlevy) October 6, 2020
After the tweet by Levy, several people started slamming Comedy Central for such censorship, after which he posted another tweet clarifying that it was Comedy Central India which censored the scene, not the parent organisation in the US.
Comedy Central responds
Following the harsh criticism from the actor-director-producer, Comedy Central chose to respond to the same. They replied to him with the clip which was censored by Comedy Central India, where Ted is seen kissing David. The official handle of Comedy Central didn’t include any text in their reply, they just posted a GIF of the clip. Comedy Central India remained silent on Twitter over the issue.
Schitt’s Creek is a popular comedy series that ran for 6 seasons in 80 episodes, winning several awards. The show is appreciated for its bold portrayal of LGBTQ+ relationships in a mainstream show. At 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards last year, the final session of the show received all seven major comedy awards, setting a record for winning most Emmy awards in a single season by a comedy show. The series is currently available on Netflix in India.
The censorship in India
Since OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Hotstar, and others have started streaming shows in India, the viewership for such shows has increased exponentially. Several OTT platforms often censor their shows based on the streaming location to avoid any clash with the local laws or religious sentiments.
Though sex scenes have become extremely common even in the show produced in India for the OTT platforms, intimacy scenes on Television broadcast between two men is still a big taboo. Television shows are often censored in India, just like the movies. The scene that has attracted the outrage was not censored for the OTT platform but for the Television broadcast.