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Seven censors Home & Away same-sex kiss

Home and Away bows to pressure and censors a same-sex kiss following a media frenzy.

hakcThe Seven Network has censored a same sex kiss in its soapie Home and Away.

A scene involving a kiss between Joey (Kate Bell) and Charlie (Esther Anderson) has been censored following media stories with lobby groups criticising the storyline in a ‘family’ show.

The plotline involves the arrival of a young lesbian who has become attracted to one of the show’s regular characters. As the two grow more intimate they were set to share an on-screen kiss. In last night’s episode (pictured) the two girls finished a dance with an awkward and hesitant moment before Charlie made a quick exit.

After media stories and criticism by lobby groups, Seven diminished the intensity of the romance between the two.

Seven has itself contributed to the media storm, which even led to UK press stories, first by talking to media about the upcoming plot and including debate on the subject in Today Tonight -the show that precedes the soap.

There is even the suggestion that the show has lost 100,000 viewers since the lesbian story became news.

The show’s average audience this year has been:
Week 7: 1,123,000
Week 8: 1,094,000
Week 9: 1,192,000
Week 10: 1,136,000
Week 11: 1,092,000 / (“Lesbian Story” breaks in media)
Week 12: 1,090,000
Week 13: 1,080,000

PG television allows for adult themes with limitations. A soap can depict romance as either heterosexual or homosexual. Seven fell within the boundaries of the PG ruling to include a same-sex kiss, just as it has kisses by straight characters.

The media outcry has been self-serving, with network and lobby groups each pushing their own agendas.

Family groups who attacked the storyline also did so purely on the promise of upcoming plotlines. They had not viewed the footage. Generally speaking, Seven doesn’t send previews of Home and Away.

The irony is Australia was the first country in the world to have an ongoing, sympathetic, openly gay character in Number 96 in the ’70s. Since then gay and bisexual characters have appeared on numerous soaps including Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, Pacific Drive, Water Rats, GP, Sweat, Raw FM, Breakers, The Secret Life of Us, All Saints, Rush, Love My Way, Satisfaction, The Circuit

While not all PG representations include scenes of romance, even Neighbours covered the same terrain as Home and Away in 2004 when Lana (Bridget Neval) was attracted to Sky (Stephanie McIntosh). That aired at 6:30pm. It had gay characters as far back as 1994 when Macca (John Morris) was a builder who worked with Doug Willis (Terence Donovan).

Out of the Blue is currently screening on TEN at 5:30pm with lesbians without any fuss. Poppy and Peta are wildly in love, however out of nowhere, Peta’s husband has turned up. Peta married him before she came out, and they’ve never been divorced.

All those ‘outraged’ by the present storyline have forgotten Home and Away itself has had gay characters. In 2003 Pippa and Christopher returned in 2003 for Sally’s wedding and revealed that Christopher was gay. A kiss was averted at the time during a non-mutual attraction. Back in 2006 Eve fell in love with Sarah Lewis which jealousy led to her becoming the notorious ‘Summer Bay Stalker’. Shannon (Isla Fisher) also left Summer Bay with her older lover Mandy.

In Reality Television diverse contestants are celebrated for their individuality: So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Big Brother, The Block, Australia’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Dancing, Australian Idol amongst others.

Two same sex parents appeared years ago on Play School.

There is also a question of the H&A storyline choosing to include an attraction with a character who had previously enjoyed heterosexual storylines. Seven did not respond to questions about whether Charlie was therefore a bisexual character from the start, let alone how she is perceived by writers now.

Former Home and Away script producer Coral Drouyn has previously told backtothebay.net: “Home & Away should have a gay character. I tried several times but it ended up a debacle. It won’t happen while the present hierarchy is in place. I have found on various shows but especially H&A, often the most vehemently opposed person to a gay character is a gay person. Not from homophobia…but simply from fear of ratings.”

Ironically there are gays and lesbians workingin the Free to Air and Pay TV industry as writers, actors, directors, producers, publicists, executives and even programmers.

This smells more and more of a TV ‘gay panic’, with everyone getting last-minute nerves: the network, advertisers, lobby groups.

The missing ingredient in the decision making process is the audience.

Source:  The Australian

70 Responses

  1. I honestly don’t think that Lesbians kissing is inappropriate for a show like this. Teenagers watch this, and I think drugs is bad for the show, since having them is actually a bad thing, but censoring this is just beyond rediculous. Too bad if homophobes or ignorant gay haters don’t like it- It’s life! I mean, what about years ago when the character Kane raped Dani Sutherland? And you’re telling me that’s something teenagers should hear about rather than Lesbians? I also don’t understand why it has lost viewers. For a gay person to see something like this, and I believe there are gay teengagers who watch this show, is very comfortable for them. I mean, what about black people? I’m sure black people would want to see their own kind on the show when they watch it, and that’s fine with viewers. I’m not seeing filtering inappropriate things here, I’m seeing ignorance over something that is normal. That’s right, being Lesbian or gay is totally normal. Homosexual people have as much right as hetorsexual people have to be seen on tv, despite what homophobic people think. Wake up channel 7. We live in a world with all different people.

  2. I dont think shows aimed at children and adolescents alike should be promoting or advocating homosexuality or casual sex of any form, hetro or homosexual. Im 28, when i was an adolescent people my age kissed and at most fondled over the clothes…anyone that did more outside a longlasting relationship was deemed a slapper or hoar….People valued each other more and there was respect for each other…Since then the media has been selling sex to children continuously and well..dont know bout your country but in mine its resulted in increased levels of casual sex, unwanted pregnancy and a rise in sexual diseases,….all because kids havee to live up to their role models…and the have to live like their actors becaus after all..that is how people carry on…they think!

    I have seena case of a quite guy who was 100% hetro sexual and now says he’s gay to his female friends…yet neither they nor me believe it to be the case..he’s quite and feels he must say he is to get attention…after all the perception is hes more open minded and acceptable than the ordinary hetrosexual!….a token…

  3. God I hate family groups. Who says being hetrosexual is the ‘norm’. I know of people with homosexual parents, are they not considered a fmaily just because there are 2 mum’s or 2 dad’s?

    Home and Away is a show many young people watch, and it should be allowed to deal with circumstances that arise in everyday society.

    Or is the Family group trying to breed a whole new generation of homophobes…..

    Seven and the producers of H&A need to grow some balls and tackle this storyline without having to censor an already tame PG rated programme.

    This whole debacle is honestly one of the most pathetic stories going around at the moment. In this day and age, it really should not matter if a character is gay or straight, or bi-sexual or is experimenting with their sexuality.

    And with the show being shot in Sydney, one of the biggest gay captials on the planet its really ignorant by the family council.

  4. It stuns me how many so called liberal minded people are mouthing off here without any idea of what has actually been done to the “offending” scene. They’re as bad as the conservatives, who are going on about the damaging potential of the story to young minds without any knowledge of what it contains. I repeat what I did in my earlier post, this story has been beautifully handled until now and it stuns me that so many people. who from the tone of their posts have seen none of what the program makers have done with the story so far, assume they are in such a position to judge the choices made. Broad minded posters please, in your zeal to champion liberality, don’t repeat the mistake of the closed minded conservatives of judging without giving a fair go. On all the evidence of how the story has been handled so far, I expect to be pleasantly surprised when I watch on Tuesday. And anyone who is only watching on Tuesday night for the lesbian kiss, all I can say is Puh-lease. This kiss will work or not in the context of the whole gentle, lovely story. You cannot judge it either way if you come for a single moment of girl on girl lip lock. If that’s your thing, go hire a porn. 🙂

  5. This is all so strange as Christian said, Neighbours have shown it fine (there was some outrage I recall from some with the first time, but the latter times once it had already been done, things were fine).

  6. Home & Away get your asses into gear! I was thinking of tuning in to watch the show just for the lesbian kiss, but hearing that you have ‘censored’ it – well, it’s just pathetic.

    Poor decision Channel 7! With 10% of the country being gay, and Sydney being a ‘gay’ capital of the world…lesbian storylines are only going to help your show.

  7. Mikey

    The Melrose incident was a male same-sex kiss between gay regular Matt (Doug Savant) and a college roommate of Billys who had turned up for Billy’s wedding to Allison. Billy didnt know his roommate was gay and was supposed to see him kissing Matt in the Melrose courtyard through the blinds in his apartment. A proper kiss was filmed and was supposed to go to air. Fox promoted the hell out of it but then got cold feet just before it aired and edited it (sound familiar?). What actually aired was Matt and the guy leaning in for a kiss and Billy then closed the blinds.

    If it had actually gone to air it wouldve been the first male same-sex kiss in an American network drama series ever. Because it was edited out that honour went to Dawsons Creek a few years later!

  8. What a spineless crock! Seven is not only irresponsible by pandering to the uneducated narrow minded idiots that bring down and hold back the society, they are sending a very clear message to gay and lesbian people. In particular I feel so badly for young people and those having trouble coming out that it’s not ok, that it should be hidden away.
    Home And Away is a great vehicle to show every part of society, not just a society seen through the eyes of conservative Christian morons who want nothing more than to dictate their own personal belief system.
    While the show can be influencial, people can not be influenced to be gay or to be someone they are not. What it is meant to do is show a character someone might just idenify with, somone they see a truth of their own in, not brainwash them into something that’s not in them.
    By doing this, Seven is abusing the privellege of sending out a positive message, and instead are turning the clock back 25 years. Young kids who watch this show and follow the news take notice, and what could have been a few scared people seeing that it’s actually ok to be who you are, may now see that they just need to shut up and live a lie.
    Absolute idiots.

  9. This is ridiculous. Even the OFLC eventually dismissed homosexuality as an “adult theme” in and of itself circa 1994, allowing for homosexuality (including romantic same sex kisses) to be accomodated under the G rating. A kiss alone does not constitute an “adult theme” nor a “sexual reference” as far as I’m concerned. If there is a film which deals with homophobia or “coming out”, then I can understand the need for a PG rating as these themes can be confusing or upsetting for younger viewers, but as far as I’m concerned, a same-sex kiss is no more or less inappropriate between a heterosexual kiss.

    The fact that we’re living in the 21st century is irrelevant as there will *always* be bigots in the world (and there are still many countries where homosexuality can be punishable by corporal/capital punishment). However, my issue is that we’re living in a (for legal purposes) “secular” society which abhors discrimination, and this censorship by Seven, is invariably a form of discrimination against the GLBT community.

    If a G rated soap like Neighbours can get await with it (and actually stick to the storyline), then H&A have no reason not to as well.

  10. “Family groups who attacked the storyline also did so purely on the promise of upcoming plotlines. They had not viewed the footage. Generally speaking, Seven doesn’t send previews of Home and Away.”

    Family groups and parents who don’t want their children to watch this simply need need to get over it and turn their tvs off. If Neighbours can have a same sex kiss why not Home and Away?

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