China Censors Michael Fassbender's Gay Kiss in Alien: Covenant

Michael Fassbender kissing himself

Unfortunate audience members in China do not get to see Michael Fassbender kissing himself in Alien: Covenant.

Censors in the nation cut the pivotal moment, which showed an embrace between two identical male cyborgs named Walter and David.

While scenes involving violence inflicted were also nixed — a not-uncommon edit for Hollywood blockbusters in China — audiences are reporting that the absence of Fassbender's footage was jarring.

"For the other missing parts, you don't notice or know when it happens, but you can really feel something is missing where the gay kiss is supposed to be," a viewer identified as Yu told The Hollywood Reporter.

Though gay sex was decriminalized in 1997, stigma endures and LGBT people have no protections under the law in China. In 2016 the country's censors declared gay content in television and film "unfit for viewing," as it promoted "abnormal sexual relations or sexual behavior." 

While Disney's controversial "gay moment" in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast survived in cinemas earlier this year, the removal of Fassbender's queer kiss shows a heteronormative return to business as usual.

Geng Le, a Chinese LGBT activist and creator of Blued, the country's largest gay app, recently pointed to the censorship of LGBT themes from entertainment as one of the major obstacles facing the movement. However, he remained optimistic that China is "headed in the right direction."

“There are still many challenges we are facing now,” Geng told the The New York Times, which interviewed the activist ahead of his role as a grand marshal of New York City Pride. "But we’re headed in the right direction. Society is becoming more open about our issues, so I think it’s going to get better and better."

Tags: Media, China

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