Downton Abbey Censored for Gay Kiss on Greek TV

Greek TV state cut out a gay kiss from the British period drama Downton Abbey earlier this week. For its part, the state-run NET channel said that because of the time (10:05 pm local time) the episode was aired, parental guidance rules required the editing out of footage of a kiss between two men. NET also disputed the charge of censorship.

A statement from the country’s opposition party, SYRIZA, pointed out that the removal of the kiss was not an isolated incident but part of a rise in hate crimes and right-wing extremism:

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.

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.

Greeks took to Twitter to raise the issue of NET censorship. Dimitris Papadimoulis, a SYRIZA politician, raised the point of whether the right-wing Golden Dawn party or religious authorities had pressured NET to omit the footage: “NET ‘cut’ a gay kiss on the premiere of a top TV series. Who decided this censorship? (Bishop) Seraphim of Piraeus and GD?”

Last week, members of the Golden Dawn were among those demonstrating outside a theater in Athens where an American play portraying Jesus and his apostles as gay was to be performed. As†Reuters notes, the demonstrators — including a woman making a Nazi salute — clashed with police and the play has been postponed. TV footage also showed black-robed priests ripping up flyers for the play.

The Golden Dawn, whose logo includes a swastika-like symbol, has gained support — 30 seats in the 300-member Greek parliament after elections in June — as the country’s economic crisis has dragged on and on. Greece’s economy has been in a recession for five years and a quarter of Greeks, and over half of those in their 20s, are now unemployed. The†Daily Mail reports that about a quarter of Greeks under 25 support the Golden Dawn, which has gone out of its way to hand out free food only to Greeks in need and blamed the country’s woes on immigrants. Some members of the Golden Dawn have been accused of physically assaulting immigrants.

Indeed, a teacher at an Athens high school was recently investigated for threatened foreign students by saying that he would call on the Golden Dawn, Greek daily Ta Nea reports. The teacher has apologized and, according to another daily, Kathimerini, the school (which has 150 students from 19 different countries) is now functioning “smoothly and peacefully.”

But this incident, along with the NET’s omission of the kiss between the two male characters on Downton Abbey, are troubling signs of right-wing attitudes and a lack of tolerance for diversity and immigrants in Greek society.†For millennia, the country has been at the crossroads of Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa: The 21st century is no time for Greece to succumb to acts of hate and xenophobia.


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Aggeliki B.

It is rather sad you write all these comments about Greece and about appropriateness. Aren't your comments rather racist? Well I guess you consider yourselves civilised then...Most of the stuff about homosexuality of Greeks (if you have read any books) do not come from Greek sources but foreign writers who interpret things their own way or rumours spread around without any basis. Instead of criticising a different way of life maybe you should look into your societies and their ethical values....

rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

Thanks but, the kiss may have increased rating, given how boring that show is.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

As pointed out by Beth M., Greece doesn't fare well with animals. But they don't do so well with refugees either. More and more countries in the EU have stopped deporting refugees back to Greece because of the way they are treated. Prisons and camps are used to keep people seeking asylum and the conditions are horrible. Greece has a history of occupation by the nazis, a military junta and a corrupt socialist Government, What can you expect when people are fed up with politicians, high unemployment and an unwillingness to pay the price for living on borrowed money? Easy solutions are always the best and religious organizations and right-wing politicians aren't going to let that opportunity slip away. It's much easier to blame everything bad on immigrants, LGBT, leftists, the EU, etc, than accepting personal responsibility for the disastrous economical situation the country is in.

Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni5 years ago

So, a big flap about two men kissing on Downton Abbey but no mention of the lesbian kiss on Upstairs, Downstairs? Is it because seeing two men kiss is "icky" and two women are a turn-on or is it just because women do it so much better?

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick5 years ago

Wasn't Ancient Greece the original home of bisexuality and homosexuality????? I can't imagine how the Orthodox Church ever took root there at all. Apparently the apostles either accepted homosexuality back then or cleverly left any anti-gay rhetoric out of their preaching.

Mara Comitas
Past Member 5 years ago

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Gysele van Santen

Greece is a damn shame, all these comments called good money.

Vicky P.
Vicky P5 years ago


pam w.
pam w5 years ago

Rather IRONIC, isn't it? "Greek love" being what it was.....

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Greece doesn't care about the welfare of its animals either, so I don't expect them to get to this century for another 500 years.