Japanese TV station Fuju TV aired a controversial throwback episode as a 30-year anniversary, which received significant public disapproval for exhibiting homophobic sentiments.
The show ridiculed the LGBTQ community through discriminatory comedy. One comedian embodied a stereotypical gay man by dressing in pink, wearing lavish makeup, and speaking in an exaggeratedly feminine voice. Another comedian appeared with school-girl pony tails and large red lips.
Throughout the show, the comedians repeated the term “homo,” and continued to objectify gay men. The episode included dialogue such as, “You would be executed if you were in a foreign country.” Other scenes’ dialogue implied that homosexuality is a crime and compared homosexuals to pedophiles.
Akimoto, a staff member at Keio University, stated that such programs and homophobic sentiments could negatively influence children and lead to bullying in schools. In response, LGBTQ rights advocacy organizations released a joint official complaint saying that this TV show would spread prejudice and discrimination against gay people and endanger gay children.
One LGBTQ journalist, Matsuoka, reflected on his personal response to the show, saying that its content presented the exclusionary choice of either being openly gay but participating in self-deprecating humor or hiding one’s sexual orientation Matsuoka also emphasized the paradox of the TV station’s efforts to support the LGBTQ community while also broadcasting such a discriminatory show.
Regarding the backlash, the head of Fuji TV made an official apology. However, his remarks only mentioned the station’s regret towards the audience’s reaction. He attributed the controversy to a generation gap instead of the content itself.