Gay Character in Love 101 Canceled by Turkish Authorities

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Ruling AKP deputy chair Mahir Ünal has recently confessed that they imposed Netflix Turkey to cancel the gay character in Love 101. Turkish Netflix series ‘Love 101’ had initially planned to feature a gay character called “Osman.” Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair did not explicitly say why producers changed the scenario at the last minute. However, critics interpreted his remarks as the government has imposed censorship on the show.

Love 101 (Aşk 101) is a Netflix Turkey's original teen drama, which tells the story of 5 college teens. (Image Credit-Filmaffinity)
Love 101 (Aşk 101) is a Netflix Turkey’s original teen drama, which tells the story of 5 college teens. (Image Credit-Filmaffinity)

Mahir Ünal is the deputy chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) in charge of publicity and media. He has recently implied that the Turkish government pressured Netflix Turkey to change the scenario of the teen drama “Love 101.” The ruling party wanted them to change the scenario because it included a homosexual character.

Gay Character in Love 101

Mahir Ünal has recently joined to Turkish journalist Cüneyt Ozdemir’s Youtube channel. In the program, he made some important explanations. Before this program, there have been some rumors over Netflix Turkey removed a gay character from Love 101. The name of this character was Osman and none of us wanted to believe these rumors are true. Ünal appeared on journalist Cüneyt Özdemir’s YouTube channel on July 6. There he said “Netflix had previously commissioned a series [to Turkish producers]. The scenario of the series was ready, and the series was about a homosexual character Osman.”

It is now a matter of curiosity whether Love 101 will have the season 2. (Image Credit-Twitter)
It is now a matter of curiosity whether Love 101 will have the season 2. (Image Credit-Twitter)

Criticism from Media Watchdog RTUK

Ünal’s remarks have exposed the censorship imposed on the series because none of the characters in the show are homosexual. In April, rumors of a gay character in Love 101 have received sharp criticism from Turkey’s media watchdog. So, the watchdog is unsurprisingly the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).

A furor erupted after a now-deleted Twitter account @love101netflix suggested Osman could be gay. He is, by the way, one of the main characters in the show. Netflix Turkey did not respond to requests to confirm whether @love101netflix was a fake account or whether the show included a gay character. But when the show went on air, the audience saw that screenwriters did not script Osman as a gay character.

Homosexuality is still a tabu in Turkey's broadcast and internet media. (Image Credit-Show Snob)
Homosexuality is still a tabu in Turkey’s broadcast and internet media. (Image Credit-Show Snob)

AKP’s Censorship Against Osman of Love 101

However, Ünal exposed that producers depicted Osman as a gay character. Thus, the audience interpreted this last-minute change in the scenario as censorship imposed on the show.

Ünal’s remarks also clarified why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is also the chairman of the AKP, last week threatened to shut down Netflix. He did not only threaten Netflix but also YouTube and Twitter after his family was insulted online.

YouTube, Twitter, Netflix and “Turkey’s Moral Values”

So, Erdoğan on July 1 said the government determined to control social media platforms, He cited an increase of “immoral acts” on these platforms in recent years. He added “Do you understand now why we are against social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Netflix? These platforms do not suit this nation,” Erdoğan said.

Gay Character in Love 101, Osman, was removed by Netflix following voice objections. (Image Credit-Turkish Series Teammy)
Gay Character in Love 101, Osman, was removed by Netflix following voice objections. (Image Credit-Turkish Series Teammy)

Thousands of Turks, including opposition leaders, then became puzzled why Erdoğan named Netflix among these social media platforms.

So, tell us what do you think about censorship news in Turkey? What are your thoughts on censorship on Netflix and other social media platforms? Your opinions are very precious for us, so please share your comments below.

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