Singapore has censored their production of the classic musical Les Miserables by cutting out a same-sex kiss between two men, after complaints from the public.
Singapore state law currently outlaws sex between two men and has deemed the act to be punishable by up to two years in prison.
The scene in question involves a peck on the lips during the song ‘Beggars at the Feast’. The producers were told that the scene violated its ‘general’ rating and thus decided to remove the kiss. The production’s organisers intended the scene to be comical.
According to the Straits Times, state regulators Media Development Authority (MDA) released a statement that read, “The inclusion of the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted to MDA for classification. The performance was thus given a ‘General’ rating. Upon receiving feedback from members of the public, MDA reviewed the performance and confirmed that the scene was present. MDA advised the applicant that the inclusion of this particular scene meant that the performance had exceeded the ‘General’ rating issued. Under our classification code, such a scene would fall under an ‘Advisory’ rating. The applicant decided to remove the scene so as to keep the ‘General’ rating for the rest of its run. MDA will take action against this breach of licensing conditions.”
As of 3 June, the scene has been adapted to exclude the kiss. The decision follows a row in Singapore over foreign companies sponsoring the annual gay rights rally, Pink Dot, which took place on 4 June. Companies that supported the rally included JPMorgan, Google and Barclays.
According to the BBC, Singapore authorities warned it would take steps to make clear that foreign firms “should not fund, support or influence such events” on 8 June.
Singapore’s vocal Christian community has called for what it calls traditional family values and have opposed events such as Pink Dot.
Was Singapore right to censor the Les Miserables scene? Let us know what you think.