Kathy Griffin (left) and Mariska
Hargitay in Law & Order: SVU.

Some LGBT viewers are up in arms after a much-hyped kiss between two women in an episode of Law & Order: SVU was removed from the broadcast version.

The episode featured LGBT-friendly actress and comedienne Kathy Griffin playing a lesbian activist pressuring the Special Victims Unit to step up their investigation of the rape and murder of a lesbian woman, as well as ongoing threats to other local lesbians.

Detectives in the unit uncover a lesbian subculture of “aggressives:” lesbians with a hyper-masculinised presentation, one of whom they suspect is the killer. They later discover that a man is the murderer.

Commentators were not only offended by the man-hating lesbian stereotypes in the show, but were also upset that the kiss between Griffin and actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays one of the detectives, and which was included in a preview tape sent to the media, was removed from the final version of the episode.

In the final broadcast, Griffin’s characters only attempts to kiss Hargitay’s character, who refuses her advance. Later in the episode, Griffin’s character comes out as bisexual and instead kisses a male detective, played by Christopher Meloni.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said that producers had capitalised on Harigtay’s large lesbian fan base as well as Griffin’s popularity in the LGBT community.

“Many in the LGBT community were understandably excited about the episode, hoping for a fair, accurate and inclusive hour of television. Unfortunately, that was not the case,” said the organisation.

“The storyline attempted to tackle real life issues around hate crimes against lesbians, but by discrediting the Babs Duffy (Griffin) character, her message was also discredited. Instead, she became just another stereotype: the confused, sex-crazed bisexual.”

GLAAD said that it would be approaching the show’s producers to urge them “…not [to] insult their LGBT viewers by luring them in with the promise of an episode that ultimately proves insulting”.

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