This past weekend, fans in Italy noticed something was awry when they watched an episode of How To Get Away With Murder. Variety reports that the sex scene in the pilot episode between Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) and Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora), a gay couple on the show, had been edited out on the Rai network, which is Italy’s top free service provider.
When the show originally aired on Sky Italia’s Fox platform, the episode aired in its entirety without any editing from the network.
As a way for fans to see the original clip the way it was intended, show creator Pete Nowalk took to Twitter, where he posted the original scene.
— Pete Nowalk (@petenowalk) July 9, 2016
Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer of the show, and Falahee also took to Twitter as a way to air their grievances against the editing, with Falahee saying that “it was crazy” and asked if “audiences in Italia aren’t ‘ready’ for real life?”
Rhimes, not one to hold back when it comes to social injustice, chimed in, asking her followers if they’d noticed any other LGBT scenes edited out of the show in other countries in the world. Nowalk also asked viewers to let him know when certain scenes are edited out of the show in other countries.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 9, 2016
The director of Rai, Ilaria Dallatana, issued an apology, saying that the censoring of the show was because of an editor who edited out too much of the show. The Hollywood Reporter has said that the network will reair the episode again, this time with the scene between Connor and Oliver in the episode.
Dallatana said American programming, like How To Get Away With Murder and Jane The Virgin helps make the country more progressive, as surrogacy is illegal in Italy, saying that “Even these controversies help us to take the right steps for the future. As demonstrated by our new programming schedules, RaiDue will be increasingly sensitive to the complexity of the contemporary world.”
This isn’t the first time Rai has come under fire for editing and censoring media that had gay characters in it. In 2008, the network censored the sex scene in Brokeback Mountain.
How To Get Away With Murder returns to ABC for its third season on Sept. 22 at 10 p.m.