When South Korean influencers Backpack and Kim saw that scenes of men kissing had been censored from the recent television broadcast of the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the pair decided to fight back. While others like Adam Lambert have spoken out, this couple started a campaign of sorts.
The two men, who make up the TV Mango Couple channel on YouTube where they vlog about their lives as partnered gay men, issued the Bohemian Kiss Challenge, asking their 211,000 subscribers to join them in posting pictures of themselves handing out smooches. Their goal is to show that all kisses are equal after the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) censored gay content from the Oscar-winning movie about the late-Queen frontman.
“A few days ago, the movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was screened on SBS, but they removed the same sex kisses in that movie,” the pair said in subtitled English in a video posted to YouTube.
The two young men spoke of their concern when they realized similar scenes of a man and a woman kissing were left uncensored by the broadcaster.
“Kisses aren’t meant just for a man and a woman,” they said. “We want to remind everyone that ‘kisses between loved ones are all equal, no matter what sex they are.’ That is why we have come before you with this challenge.”
The two men who have been together as a couple for eight years used the hashtags #BohemianKissChallenge and #AllKissesAreEqual for their posts. They even encouraged singles to participate by kissing their hand.
On Instagram, Adam Lambert spoke out on the censorship in a comment on one of Out's posts.
"And yet they’ll play Queen’s records without any hesitation," Lambert, who is currently the front-man of Queen, wrote of the network. "Nothing explicit or lewd about that kiss. The double standard is REAL.”
The 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury and tells the story of the star’s rise to fame as singer for the British rock group Queen. Malek won an Oscar for his performance showing the public and private life of the late singer who came out publicly about his HIV diagnosis in 1991, and died the following day. The movie depicts numerous scenes of intimate same-sex relations, but is not pornographic and received a PG-13 rating. Six full minutes of the movie was censored by officials in China before the movie was shown there, although Out found only two minutes of explicitly queer content in the film.