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Milk Acceptance Speeches Censored by News Corp Subsidiary

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Film buffs from around the world are still buzzing about this year's Oscar winners. GLAAD was thrilled about Milk being nominated in eight categories and receiving the Oscar for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY for screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE, to Sean Penn for his role as the openly gay leader Harvey Milk.

Both of their acceptance speeches that night received rousing cheers and applause from within the Kodak Theater. But millions of TV viewers missed out on their full speeches because they were censored.

Who is responsible? News Corp.

It's the same media company under fire from many organizations for its defamatory political cartoon in The New York Post.

Specifically, STAR is an Asian TV satellite company and a News Corp subsidiary. The TV service reaches more than 300 million viewers in 53 countries. STAR aired the full broadcast live, but later in the evening showed an edited version of the recorded telecast. Evening viewers tuning into the recorded awards show found the company had edited out the words “gay” and “lesbian” every time they were said on-stage by the screenwriter or actor.

The Associated Press reported the following reason for why "gay" and "lesbian" were cut out of the telecast:

Jannie Poon, STAR's Hong Kong-based spokeswoman, stressed that the company had no intention of upsetting any viewers, but said it has ''a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.''

Poon said she was not immediately aware that the speeches had been censored, but noted that STAR's preliminary ratings for the Oscar broadcasts indicated ''record-breaking'' audiences, especially in India and Taiwan.

I don't think anyone is surprised by the record-breaking audiences. Millions of viewers from around the world tuned in to celebrate some of the best films of our time including gay cinema. Moviegoers were touched by Milk and its historic story about gay and lesbian inequality.

How is STAR being responsible for editing out the words "gay" and "lesbian" when some of its viewers happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?

In the same AP story, it reported that some people have spoken out on the censorship by STAR. :

''As a gay man, I am truly offended,'' Pang Khee Teik, a prominent Malaysian arts commentator, wrote in a letter sent out to several media organizations. ''Stop censoring the words that describe who I am.''

Pang said the move ''sent a message ... that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public's ears.''

For those interested in expressing their concerns to STAR, you can contact them here:

Jannie Poon
Phone: 852-2621-8728
Fax: 852-2621-8620
E-Mail: janniep@startv.com

Uncensored Dustin Lance Black acceptance speech:

Uncensored Sean Penn acceptance speech:


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