Central Perk loves everything about the Friends reunion. The Chinese Central Committee apparently does not.
Appearances by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the K-pop group BTS were dropped Thursday from different versions of the streaming show on three Chinese video platforms. Because the clips taken out varied in length, observers believe the censorship likely happened at the platform level.
All of those axed from the reunion have annoyed the government in the past.
Lady Gaga’s meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama caused friction, as did Bieber posting a photo of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals.
BTS has been annoying the government on everything from their style to their failure to mention China’s Korean War sacrifices.
The missing items in the stream included Lady Gaga’s duet with Lisa Kudrow on Smelly Cat, Phoebe’s lasting contribution to western culture. Recollections by BTS members on watching the show as youngers was also axed, and an appearance by Bieber dressed as “Spudnik.”
The special was popular in China, and some major Chinese cities created cafes of the show’s coffee shop, Central Perk.
“This is insane, if you introduce the show to China, don’t cut the scene. If you have to cut it, then don’t introduce it. What’s the point of eating this castrated content?” one fan wrote on social media. But more nationalistic comrades backed the censorship.