Show about gays banned in Lithuania

Show about gays banned
By Rimantė Kulvinskytė, L.T.
TV viewers will not be able to watch an LNK show Jeigu (What If?) on Tuesday, which deals with the issues of sexual minorities. The sponsors did not like the opinions expressed on this show, which the producers of Jeigu consider to be objective.
According to its producers, the episode of the TV show Jeigu about sexual minorities, which has been advertised for a week, was plagued by scandals even before the shoot: more than ten Lithuanian celebrities turned down an offer to play the main character of the show. Some of them did not dare to openly express their opinions while others were afraid of being identified as gay. This is why the creative team decided to sacrifice Svaras, one of the hosts of this show. This programme was created from a heterosexual and not from a homosexual viewpoint. Svaras was asked to take up the roles various officials and employers. The performer expressed a preference for the traditional family. It was this attitude of the performer that the organizers did not like.
“This TV programme reinforces stereotypes and we therefore do not want the show to be aired. It further reinforces the homophobic environment. This programme featured the wrong people and expressed an inappropriate attitude,” Jūratė Puidienė, director of Women’s Employment and Information Centre, told the daily newspaper L.T.. This centre was the initiator of the Jeigu project.  She told journalists that Svaras, who had become the main character of the show, is also partly to blame because his opinions about gays, which he expressed in the show, did not meet the goals set by the organizers.
Svaras’ attitude is inappropriate
“An educational aspect was missing in the programme,” maintained expert Margarita Jankauskaitė, a project coordinator of the Centre for Equality Advancement. The interviewee confirmed that this was also because of the position expressed by Svaras.
“It was not Svaras’ sexual orientation but his views expressed on the programme, questions he asked and the reaction of the audience that determined the experts’ decision,” said M.Jankauskaitė. She also confirmed that she did not receive any objections from LNK as to the cancelling of the programme. “I agree that the creators of the show reflected the overall situation in Lithuania. However, they failed to rise above it.”
Takes pride in traditional values
“Since I work with people a lot, I know what opinions are out there and how most people think about this. When solving various dilemmas I tried to take the approach of our society, which is not tolerant,” Svaras insisted.
“Each person is free to make his choices. I regard the traditional family as the greatest value – this is my choice. And I am not ashamed, I am proud of this,” answered the performed when accused of being intolerant.
“The organizers of the programme have the right to express their opinion. We can say that this is a wonderful country that is full of tolerance and free of sex and drugs, just like the Soviet Union. However, I do not think that the centre would be interested in hearing such ‘truth’,” remarked the show host.
Complaints about objectivity
“Complaints were made against the journalists about their objectivity. In this case the sponsors of this show, who are representing the European Union, should not forget that by defending their interests they are undermining the foundations on which the European Union was built. Among these are the freedoms of expression, opinion and exchange of opinions,” Jonas Banys, creative director of LNK and hostof the Jeigu show, commented on the sponsors’ reproaches.
“The show’s depiction of the current Lithuanian situation was too accurate. I should be proud of this,” the interviewee said smilingly, who during the shoot had to defend a representative of sexual minorities from overtly homophobic statements by other participants of the show.
“The fact that Svaras defended Lithuanian traditional family values was also deemed to be a negative thing. After all, television programmes saying that a family consisting of a man, woman and their children is a good thing are not banned in Lithuania,” said Banys and added that on this programme the representatives of minorities were most fiercely defended in the professional sphere.
Meanwhile, the representatives of LNK solved this problem very simply.
“This subject will be replaced with a different one. Since this is not an LNK’s programme, we have to react to our sponsors’ comments and the show will not be aired,” Arūnas Motiekaitis, director of programmes of LNK, told L.T..