Netflix has never been bashful about supporting gay rights with the content it offers, for which they should be applauded. Adding to its esteem in the gay community, the streaming juggernaut pretty much told the country of Turkey to “Get Plucked” for not being LGBTQ-friendly.
(Yeah. Yeah. I know. I’ll be here all week.)
Netflix was in the midst of another series called If Only. The production was set in Turkey, and once the Turkish government laid eyes on the script, they wanted to get involved. In particular, the script had a gay character in it.
In America, no worries. It’s showtime. Although Turkey is a Muslim-majority nation with a secular system (no Sharia Law), gay rights is something still frowned upon. The ultra-conservative government is not cool with a homosexual character being given free run in their country. So, the Turkish censorship thought police decided to put the kibosh on that.
To wit, Netflix put said kibosh on the entire production.
No Gay Rights is Just Wrong
According to Netflix, If Only starred Turkish actress Özge Özpirinccito (pictured below) and the 8-part series would focus on “an unhappily married woman transported back in time to the moment her husband proposed.” So, it sounds like a good plot for the Gen-Z viewer. Unfortunately, the Turkish government wasn’t happy with the gay vibes in the script.
Turkish production house Ay Yapim was in charge of the Netflix series and have declined to comment for fear the Turkish government may go all Enes Kanter on their behind. (NBA fans, anyone?)
Netflix, even though they pre-paid all production costs, decided to terminate the show because they refused to change the script.
Now this isn’t a new stance on gay rights by the Turkish government. In recent years, Turkey has banned Pride marches in cities throughout the country, including in Istanbul and Ankara, citing public morality laws.
Nevertheless, If Only’s creator was more than surprised by the censorship power move.
Due to a gay character, permission to film the series was not granted and this is very frightening for the future.If Only’s creator Ece Yörenç via Deadline
According to Variety, Netflix didn’t pull all stakes out of Turkey, just this show.
Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey. We are proud of the incredible talent we work with. We currently have several Turkish originals in production — with more to come — and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world.Netflix Spokesperson via Variety