Downton Abbey: Greek TV under fire for cutting gay kiss
Opposition party describes move to cut footman Thomas's scene as 'extreme act of homophobia'
GREEK state television channel NET has come under fire for editing out a gay kiss from the first ever episode of Downton Abbey.
NET cited parental guidance viewing rules in cutting the kiss between a visiting Duke and Downton's footman, Thomas. But many Greeks took to social networking sites to complain that NET had succumbed to political and religious pressure.
A number of tweeters described it as "homophobic censorship", while others seemed baffled that the scene would be deemed offensive.
The country's main opposition party described it as an "extreme act of homophobia", reports The Guardian.
"As incredible as it may seem for a democratic country in the 21st century, officials of the NET television channel censored the scene of a kiss between men from the TV drama Downton Abbey," the Syriza party said in a statement.
"This is, of course, an obvious case of censorship, an extreme act of homophobia and discrimination which unfortunately, after what has been happening recently, we cannot characterise as unprecedented."
Syriza was referring to last week's protest by Greek neo-Nazis against the gay-themed religious play Corpus Christi being performed in Athens. MPs from the extreme right-wing party Golden Dawn took part in the protest.
Dimitris Papadimoulis, a Syriza party MP, suggested the Downton Abbey edit was due to pressure from Golden Dawn and the Church. "Who decided this censorship? [Bishop] Seraphim of Piraeus and GD?" he tweeted.
The broadcaster insists the kiss was not censored. "The kiss was not shown because of the time the programme was broadcast [10.05 pm on Monday] and the corresponding parental guidance warnings," said Costas Spyropoulos, managing director of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation which runs NET. An unedited version was broadcast later on Tuesday night.