Unacceptable! MultiChoice agrees to ban Caitlyn Jenner reality show over Nigerian complaints

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

No matter where you are in Africa (including South Africa), you’ll no longer be able to watch Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show I Am Cait.

South African-owned pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice has again shamefully put profit before ethics, erasing the programme from its pan-African schedule to appease homophobes and transphobes.

According to Nigerian media, the move follows “repeated complaints” in the country about the show, which has been lauded for highlighting transgender issues.

It’s unclear if the move was initiated by MultiChoice or if it was imposed on it by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC). 

Regardless, the show has been removed from all broadcasts across the continent, including in South Africa, as a result of complaints or a directive in one single country. Channel 24 reports that this is because there is only one E! channel feed for Africa.

This effectively means that South Africans are now having censorship imposed on them on the basis of the dictates of one of Africa’s most homophobic nations. 

In October last year, MultiChoice also dropped the acclaimed American reality series I Am Jazz, about a transgender teen, from its schedule after complaints from Nigerian viewers and threats of censorship.

Jazz Jennings in I am Jazz

Jazz Jennings in I Am Jazz

Nigeria has some of the most repressive anti-LGBT legislation in the world, outlawing homosexual acts with imprisonment of up to 14 years. Public displays of same-sex affection will get you 10 years in jail as will supporting an LGBT group.

Last month, I Am Cait and I Am Jazz shared the Outstanding Reality Program honour at the annual GLAAD Media Awards. Unfortunately Africans have now been barred from experiencing these groundbreaking shows.

Instead of enlightening its viewers, MultiChoice is allowing bigotry and prejudice to flourish, supporting anti-democratic values and putting LGBT Africans deeper into the closet.

Regardless of your views on Caitlyn Jenner, MultiChoice’s actions set a dangerous precedent when it comes to freedom of speech and expression. We have launched a petition calling on the broadcaster to stand its ground and reinstate I am Cait to its schedule. Click here to sign on.

UPDATE: Some readers have pointed out that MultiChoice may have had no choice in dropping I Am Cait, if it was officially banned by the NBC. If that is the case (and we have not yet confirmed this), we believe that as a South African-based company MultiChoice has the obligation to fight this directive. At the very least it should appeal the banning and/or take the matter to the Nigerian courts and it must publicly condemn the actions of the NBC. It should not be kowtowing to censorship and bigotry that will place it on an increasingly slippery and precarious slope.

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