New Delhi: As the ‘Friends’ reunion episode aired on May 27 on streaming platforms all over the world, fans were struck by nostalgia and fond memories related to the cult show. While we all saw the same version of the show, fans in China were treated to a censored version of the show, excluding many special appearances by pop group BTS, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
According to reports by Hollywood Reporter, almost 6 minutes of the show was cut out by Chinese streaming platforms.
In China, the ‘Friends’ reunion was streamed by the country’s three leading platforms including iQiyi, Tencent Video and Youku by Alibaba.
As per the report, the clip in which Korean pop band BTS spoke about its love for Friends was cut out owing to the sour relationship between China and the band since last year. One main reason could be that China had supported North Korea in the Korean War however, members of BTS have vocally expressed South Korea’s camaradrie with the U.S., inciting controversy.
Another pop star Lady Gaga, who is not in the good books of China after she met Dalai Lama in 2016, was censored from the Chinese version of ‘Friends’ reunion. Her rendition of Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe’s song ‘Smelly Cat’ was not included in the special.
The third star to earn a ban in China was Justin Bieber, who had offended the Chinese sensibilities when he visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine and posted about the same on Instagram.
In India, the much-hyped ‘Friends: The Reunion’ special amassed over one million views upon release on Thursday.
Among other cast members who make an appearance are Maggie Wheeler (Janice), Tom Selleck (Richard), and James Michael Tyler (Gunther), besides a host of celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Cindy Crawford, and Cara Delevingne making cameos appearances.
That apart, BTS, Reese Witherspoon, Kit Harrington and David Beckham address “Friends” fans through recorded messages.