Rihanna, Shakira, and RTUK

According to press reports, a music video featuring Shakira and Rihanna has run afoul of Turkey’s government broadcast agency, RTUK.

Private broadcasters of the video have received fines for airing the video, which, according to RTUK,  features “erotic dancing” and “evokes homosexuality.”  While I am happy to “agree to disagree” with RTUK on the merits of “erotic dancing,” the ruling’s openly homophobic message is disturbing.

rihanna_shakira_cant_rememberRTUK, in defending its ruling, stated:

In the music video in question, Shakira is seen lying on a bed with her hands between her legs. Both female artists are in the same bed, half-naked, only wearing very revealing dresses as they snuggle in the bed.

Perhaps I’d file this in my large, “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” file, but the ruling carries with it a powerful homophobic message. In a country where anti-LGBTI violence is still commonplace [another deadly attack occurred only a few days ago], this ban isn’t just dumb, it’s dangerous.

Howard Eissenstat
St. Lawrence University


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