Greek state television came under fire from the country's
main opposition party and critics for editing out a gay kiss
on the primetime premiere of popular British period drama
Greeks took to social networking sites such as Twitter to
complain about the NET channel's decision to axe a scene from
episode one of the series showing a kiss between a visiting
duke and Downton's unscrupulous footman Thomas. NET defended
its move, citing parental guidance viewing rules.
"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
characterize as unprecedented."
One SYRIZA lawmaker, Dimitris Papadimoulis, questioned
whether the omission was due to pressure from the far-right
Golden (GD) Dawn party or religious authorities with a tweet
asking: "NET 'cut' a gay kiss on the premiere of a top TV
series. Who decided this censorship? (Bishop) Seraphim of
Piraeus and GD?"
Greek state television said the kiss was not censored but
rather edited out to comply with rules on the time slot and
parental consent label given to the show, which was aired at
10:05 p.m. An unedited version will be broadcast later on
Tuesday night, it said.
"The love affair between the two men... was not censored,"
said Costas Spyropoulos, managing director of the Hellenic
Broadcasting Corporation. "The kiss was not shown because of
the time the programme was broadcast and the corresponding
parental guidance warnings."
Greece has seen an upsurge in right-wing extremism since a
national election in June ushered the ultra-nationalist
Golden Dawn party to parliament for the first time in its
The latest controversy comes days after dozens of
demonstrators, including Golden Dawn lawmakers, clashed with
police outside an Athens theatre and forced the postponement
of an American play that depicts Jesus and his apostles as
Television images showed bearded black-robed priests with
crosses in their hands tearing up posters promoting the play,
while one woman was shown giving a Nazi-style salute.