The television station controlled by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) in Poland is refusing to air a groundbreaking commercial because it features the first televised intimate moment between two men in the country’s history. Well-known YouTubers, Jakub and Dawid Mycek-Kwiecinski, appeared in an advertisement for Durex condoms and were the first same-sex couple to appear in a national television commercial in their country.
TVP refused outright to air the commercial, citing supposed complaints from viewers as well as a section of the 1992 law governing broadcasting. Article 18 of the Broadcasting Act requires that programming “shall respect the religious beliefs of the public and especially the Christian system of values” and that “scenes or contents which may have an adverse impact upon a healthy physical, mental or moral development of minors” can only be aired between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Competing stations Polestar and the Discovery Channel-owned TVN aired the commercials without controversy.
The advertisement for Durex condoms featured four real-life couples in the moments leading up to acts of intimacy. The four couples will later be featured in a longer documentary.
TVP has been criticized for serving as a mouthpiece for the ruling PiS party. TVP, in turn, has described TVN as a “fake news factory” and representing the interests of former communists. U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher strongly defended the integrity of TVN in a recent tweet, noting the station is “committed to transparency, freedom of speech, and independent, responsible journalism.”
TVP was ordered earlier this month to remove an inflammatory video from YouTube. Billed as a documentary, Invasion (Inwazja) ostensibly claims to reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the “goals, methods, money” and inner workings of the alleged LGBTQ+ invasion of Poland. Critics claim it is homophobic propaganda. Viewer discretion is advised.
The news comes against a backdrop of increasing intolerance for the LGBTQ+ community in the country. Many municipalities have declared themselves “LGBTQ-free zones” and a recently proposed bill sought to equate LGBTQ+ persons as pedophiles.