Friends: Reunion, A special episode of the popular sitcom Friends, was censored by China, with some guests shaved off from appearances. The appearance of K-pop bands BTS, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga was edited from the episode, shortening it to about six minutes.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, China’s major video platforms – iQiyi, Tencent Video and Alibaba’s Youku – acquired the rights to the special episode, but all of them censored the 110-minute episode.
Streamers removed the part where BTS lead RM shared their love for the show and its cast. The Korean pop band has been the target of censors in China since talking about the sacrifices of South Korean and American soldiers during the Korean War. The band’s remarks angered people in China as the country supported North Korea in the war.
Lady Gaga’s version of “Smellie Cat” was also cut because the singer has been banned in the country since her meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2016. Justin Bieber upset the country after his Instagram post about his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo in 2014. The shrine is the subject of international controversy and the singer has since been blacklisted in China.
In addition to these cuts, streaming services also cut comments from LGBTQ fans of Friends. However, despite the editing, the episode received a resounding response from viewers in the country. The Hollywood Report stated that the special currently holds a high rating of 9.5 / 10 on China’s film and TV review site Douban, making it one of the highest-rated TV imports.