Controversy surrounding possible gay character in Turkish Netflix series

On April 6, Netflix released a trailer for a new Turkish series. A Twitter account, which has been deleted since then, insinuated that the series would include a gay character. The rumour has since led to a call to boycott Netflix. For example, the chairman of the Supreme Council for Radio and Television considers this (a gay character) to be in conflict with "national and spiritual values" of Turkish society.
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The series, called Love 101 (Turkish: Aşk 101), follows several students who help their teacher find love. The show will be released on April 24, the same day that marks the beginning of Ramadan in Turkey. When the trailer appeared online, the (now deleted) Twitter account @love101netflix insinuated that a gay character would appear in the series.

The possibility of a gay character was not received positively by everyone. Ebubekir Sahin, chairman of the Supreme Council of Radio and Television, was quoted in the Turkish newspaper Yeni Akit as saying, "We will not tolerate broadcasts that are contrary to the national and spiritual values ​​of our society". In addition, thousands rejected the idea of ​​a gay character, using the hashtag #NetflixBeAMan. In a Twitter post that received more than 13,000 likes, it said: "Netflix is ​​trying to normalize immorality under the name of Love 101". Nevertheless, people also expressed their support for the inclusion of a gay character in the Turkish series. A Twitter message therefore emphasized that one should not use their religion to "legitimize their hatred."

Netflix Turkey responded to the controversy saying: "A lot of false information is spreading from fake accounts ... believe only what you hear from us about the series and the characters, not the rumours".

Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Turkey and vibrant LGBT+ communities exists in certain regions (including a wide range of LGBT + organizations). However, the Istanbul Pride has been banned by the government for five years in a row for example.


Watch the trailer below:

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