A Japanese TV station Fuji TV has apologist for a 30-year anniversary revival broadcast of a popular Japanese television show featuring a “Homoo Homooda,” a character crafted around offensive stereotypes of gay men.
“We sincerely apologize for making sexual minority people and many other viewers feel unpleasant over the expression we made that could be seen as if we were mocking homosexual men,” Fuji TV said on the show’s official website, adding it did not have any intention to insult the ranks of sexual minorities.
“We deeply regret that our understanding regarding the image the character has long projected, its impact on children, as well as regulatory reforms and changes in social circumstances surrounding LGBT over the years, had been extremely insufficient,” Fuji TV said.
In playing the character, Takaaki Ishibashi of “Tunnels” dressed up with trademark makeup of blue stubble and pink cheeks, and was teased by other performers with such phrases as “You’re a homo, right?”
Some 104 groups and individuals – including prominent business executives and opinion leaders – submitted a letter of complaint to Fuji TV and the program’s sponsors in late September.
Gon Matsunaka who runs Good Aging Yells told the Mainichi: I can’t believe they’re still showing this sort of thing. When the character first appeared (in the 1980s), it was common for children to use the word ‘homo’ as an insult to boys who were quiet and gentle,” according to Gay Star News.
“I remember feeling uncomfortable at the time, especially as I was of a susceptible age. I wonder how children who are unsure about their gender or sexual orientation felt when they saw this one-off program,” he said.
During a regular media briefing on September 29, the president of Fuji TV, Masaki Miyauchi, apologized for any part of the program that created discomfort, but did not say whether the company was planning to take any steps in response to the criticism.