Netflix Has Canceled A Turkish Production Amid Pressure To Censor A Gay Character

The above production still hails from one of Netflix’s Turkish-filmed shows, Love 101, which is one of five projects that are currently in various stages of production in the country. However, the streaming giant has pulled one production, If Only, from its lineup after Turkish authorities — whose position earlier this year was bolstered by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan supporting a cleric who declared that homosexuality “brings disease and causes this generation to decay” — pressured Netflix to censor a gay character out of the series.

Variety reports that Turkish authorities fully denied permission for the show, in which one of the five main characters is gay, to shoot using scripts as reviewed. Netflix pulled the production out of the country altogether rather than bow to pressure to alter the script or the character. Once Netflix made this move, speculation began that it would pull all of its Turkish productions, but a Netflix spokesperson insisted that this wouldn’t be the case:

“Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey. We are proud of the incredible talent we work with. We currently have several Turkish originals in production — with more to come — and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world.”

Variety notes that Netflix recently found itself in the position of confirming to Turkish media that Love 101 does not include a gay character after fan speculation that a character would come out. In the case of If Only (which was set to be produced by the Ay Yapim production house), however, Netflix stood firm in its decision (while still paying the show’s pre-production costs) to not censor an LGBTQ character, which sets quite a precedent if Turkey wants to hold onto more Netflix dollars in the future.

(Via Variety, Deadline & NBC News)