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MTV: Awards Show in Hungary Will Show Stand Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

Pride marchers in Budapest
Pride marchers in Budapest via Shutterstock

Holding the MTV Euro Music Awards in Budapest will show solidarity with LGBTQ+ people being oppressed by Hungary's government, an MTV exec says. 

The MTV Euro Music Awards will be held as planned November 14 in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, despite the country's anti-LGBTQ+ laws, an MTV executive said Tuesday.

"We're looking forward to using the event to amplify our voices and stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ siblings," Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide, told the Associated Press.

McCarthy was preparing a memo to employees about the matter, apparently expecting criticism for holding the show in Hungary, such as Netflix has received over comedian Dave Chappelle's anti-LGBTQ+ remarks in a recent special. MTV made a deal two years ago to have the awards program in Budapest.

That the show will go on "may surprise anyone who knows that in June of this year, Hungary passed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation banning television content featuring gay people during the day and in primetime," he noted in the memo, according to the AP. Such programming may be broadcast only overnight, ostensibly so children won't see it. The law, similar to the notorious one passed in Russia in 2013, forbids display of LGBTQ+ content in venues accessible to minors, including schools, media, and more.

McCarthy, who is gay, said he initially wanted to move the show, but after consulting with MTV colleagues and global LGBTQ+ activists, he and other MTV executives decided keeping the program in Budapest would make a statement.

"We should move forward, using the show as an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary and around the world as we continue to fight for equality for all," he wrote in the memo.

The ceremony will include presentation of MTV's Generation Change Award to young LGBTQ+ activists. The award is given in partnership with advocacy group All Out, whose executive director, Matt Beard, who said maintaining the show in Budapest is "absolutely the right decision," the AP reports.

The government will not be allowed to censor the show, McCarthy added. "That's always a condition regardless of whatever country we go into," he said.

Hungary, under far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has enacted several anti-LGBTQ+ laws in recent years. In 2020, Parliament approved laws barring same-sex couples from adopting and transgender people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates; the nation's highest court has ruled that the latter one cannot be applied retroactively.

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