Backpack and Kim from YouTube's TV Mango Couple participate in the Bohemian Kiss Challenge after South Korean broadcaster SBS cut out same-sex kiss scenes from Freddy Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody". (YouTube/TV Mango Couple)
YouTubers have called for the LGBT+ community in South Korea and globally to show that all kisses are equal after a broadcaster blurred out gay scenes in Bohemian Rhapsody.
The South Korean broadcaster SBS came under fire after it decided to edit out gay kisses in Freddie Mercury's biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The Saturday evening broadcast cut out scenes of men kissing and used manual blurring effects to obscure background shots where gay couples were visible.
YouTubers Kim and Backpack, known by their channel name TV Mango Couple, issued a challenge to normalize all kisses – whether straight, gay, familial, or even by yourself – in the wake of SBS’s decision.
The YouTubers, who have been a couple for eight years and have over 211,000 subscribers, share videos about their lives as gay men in South Korea and the unique challenges the LGBT+ community faces in the conservative country.
Backpack said: “It doesn’t matter what kind of kiss you do. Just post pictures of videos of you kissing, and it doesn’t matter if you’re not actually a couple.”
He suggested people can even kiss the back of their hand to show their “willingness to participate in this challenge” and to normalize all kisses.
The video has already garnered over 19,000 views less than a day after it was posted, and there has been traction for the challenge online.
One person who participated posted a drawing of two women kissing, writing: “I felt the same feeling while watching the broadcast [Bohemian Rhapsody] during the holiday season, so I participated in the challenge.
“We cannot upload photos because we are not openly queer, so we have drawn pictures to participate!”
Bohemian Rhapsody censorship an “insult” to Freddie Mercury’s memory.
LGBT+ advocacy group Rainbow Action has also issued a statement condemning SBS for deleting the same-sex kissing scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. The group said: “Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic not only about Freddie Mercury’s music but also his life as a sexual minority.
“SBS’s decision to delete or blur same-sex kiss scenes was an insult to not only the late Mr. Mercury but also the entire LGBT community.”
The group said the channel should have also fully conveyed the message of the film and Mercury’s life when they decided to air the movie. It also called for measures to promote diversity and prevent discrimination against the LGBT+ community in the future.