Asian TV network censored gay references from Oscar speeches

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One of the world’s largest broadcasters edited out mentions of gay and lesbian people in acceptance speeches made by Oscar winners.

STAR, a satellite service that is broadcast to more than 300 million homes in 53 Asian countries, cut the sound when the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ were mentioned by Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black.

The censorship only affected later showings and not the live broadcast.

A STAR spokesperson told AP that while not meaning to offend gay people the company has “a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.”

Mr Penn won the Academy Award for Best Actor at the ceremony in LA on Sunday night for his portrayal of gay politician Harvey Milk in the film Milk.

Mr Black won Best Original Screenplay for the film and moved many people to tears with his heartfelt speech.

“If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours,” he said.

Mr Penn made an impassioned plea for the rights of gay people to marry.

A ballot measure in November brought to an end legal gay and lesbian weddings in California.

“I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support,” said Mr Penn.

“We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone. And there are, and there are, these last two things. I’m very, very proud to live in a country that is willing to elect an elegant man President and a country who, for all its toughness, creates courageous artists.”

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