A brief peck between two male actors in the musical Les Miserables staged at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre was cut from the production after the state’s Media Development Authority (MDA) said it violated the show’s ratings and received public complaints, reported Channel News Asia on 11 June 2016.
Authorities said in a statement that the kiss was “not highlighted in the script when it was submitted for classification” and was initially granted a “General” rating, meaning suitable for all ages. The inclusion of the scene would have required an “Advisory” rating, but the organisers opted to cut the kiss to keep the “General” rating.
Moses Lye, head of the musical’s organisers Mediacorp VizPro, said the scene in question takes place during the song ‘Beggars at the Feast’, which is “intended to be comic” and involves “a quick peck on the lips”. He added that the group “took immediate action” on 3 June 2016 to adapt the scene.
The MDA said it would take action against the rating breach.
Same-sex issues still controversial
Public response to LGBT performers, art and issues continues to be controversial in Singapore. According to the BBC and Reuters, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs on 8 June 2016 warned foreign firms they “should not fund, support or influence” events such as the state’s annual Pink Dot gay-pride event, which took place on 3 June 2016. Sponsors of the event included Google, Facebook ,Twitter, Barclays, Apple, Microsoft and more.
In November 2015, a public petition gained over 20,000 signatures to stop singer Adam Lambert from performing at a New Year’s concert due to his promotion of LGBT rights.
In June 2014, a song addressing same-sex relationships by Taiwanese singer A-mei was censored by government authorities.
Photo from the Esplanade Theatre’s website
» Reuters – 13 June 2016:
Same-sex kiss removed from Les Miserable musical in Singapore
» BBC – 13 June 2016:
Singapore cuts same-sex kiss from Les Miserables
» Channel News Asia – 11 June 2016:
Same-sex kiss cut from Singapore production of Les Miserables after complaints
» Artsfreedom.org – 16 March 2016:
Singapore: Two sex toys removed from exhibition
» Artsfreedom.org – 1 December 2015:
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» Artsfreedom.org – 30 November 2015:
Singapore: Petition launched to ban singer from performing
» Artsfreedom.org – 26 June 2014:
Singapore: Censorship of pop star A-mei condemned by fans