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Cartoon Network Defends Choice To Censor Gay Content In UK Version Of “Steven Universe”

"In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time."

Cartoon Network was praised this summer when it was revealed that Garnet, was actually a lesbian couple, Ruby and Sapphire, who merge into one mighty gem warrior.

But now the network is under fire for censoring a scene depicting Pearl and Quartz dancing romantically in a musical number.

steven universe
Cartoon Network

The original American broadcast of the episode, “We Need to Talk,” showed the dance—as well as several heterosexual pairings.

But the British edit omitted Pearl and Rose in lieu of close-ups of different characters.

Despite a petition asking the scene be restored, the network is sticking to its guns.

“Cartoon Network (in Europe) often shows amended versions of programs from US originals,” a representative told PinkNews.

“The US broadcast system requires that shows are marked with a rating –in this case PG (parental guidance necessary). In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.”

The rep said “as a channel and network we celebrate diversity – evident across many of our shows and characters.”

But PinkNews reports that the British television rating system “explicitly allows kissing and cuddling in ‘U’ [Universal] rated content,” which Steven Universe is classified as.

“Characters may be seen kissing or cuddling and there may be references to sexual behaviour. However, there will be no overt focus on sexual behaviour, language or innuendo.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery