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Japanese TV station apologises after ‘mocking gay men’

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A TV station in Japan has been forced to issue an apology, after re-running a show which openly mocks a gay character.

Fuji TV, which is based in Tokyo and operates three separate channels, had broadcast a one-off revival of ‘The Tunnels Thanks to Everyone’ to mark the show’s 30th anniversary.

However, while it featured a comedy duo who achieved mass popularity in the country in the 80s, the broadcaster was inundated with complaints about a gay character called “Homo-oda Homo-o”.

In Japan the term “homo” is used as a derogatory insult towards gay men, with the character also mocked throughout the broadcast with comments such as “you’re a homo right?”.

The man also appeared in stereotypical makeup, dressed with blue stubble and pink cheeks.

As well as complaints from the public and on social media, LGBT groups in the region said showing the piece not only made fun of minority groups, but mocked their human rights.

In a statement, the broadcaster said they “deeply regretted” the move, adding that they’d never intended to insult LGBT people.

“We sincerely apologize for making sexual minority people and many other viewers feel unpleasant over the expression we made that could be seen as if we were mocking homosexual men.

“We deeply regret that our understanding regarding the image the character has long projected, its impact on children, as well as regulatory reforms and changes in social circumstances surrounding LGBT over the years, had been extremely insufficient,” they concluded.

Japanese TV station apologises after ‘mocking gay men’
Image Credit: Fuji TV

Previously the broadcaster also came under criticism for a lesbian drama it aired – the country’s first – which was slammed for being “out of date”.

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