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Not chill with Netflix. Hungary probes kids’ cartoon over same-sex kiss

The Hungarian media regulator on Wednesday said it was investigating Netflix for potentially violating a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law, citing “several complaints” over a cartoon showing girls kissing.

The Budapest-based National Media and Communications Authority said it was checking whether an episode of a Netflix kids series named “Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous” had violated the anti-LGBTQ+ law passed in 2021, which prohibits the portrayal of homosexuality or transgender people in content shown to minors.

The Netflix series, rated for 7-year-olds and above, shows one of the main characters confessing her love to another girl and kissing her. 

The probe threatens to escalate tensions between the European Commission and the Hungarian government amid worries about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s continuing attacks on the country’s LGBTQ+ community.

The regulator said it was obliged to initiate a probe after every complaint but couldn’t comment on the specific case because the investigation was ongoing. 

Hungary has faced staunch criticism from across Europe for more than a year over its law banning the promotion and portrayal of what it refers to as “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality” to children and teenagers.

The European Commission in July announced it was taking Budapest to the EU’s top court for allegedly flouting European laws on media freedom and fundamental rights. The Commission said Hungary’s law infringed upon European telecoms, audiovisual and digital laws as well as its cornerstone Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and Treaty of the EU and its EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Hungary’s media regulator said it has received 84 complaints since the law came into force in July 2021 and twelve complaints so far in 2022 but none of them showed any infringement. Netflix was the target of a previous investigation over a Japanese series showing a pregnant man. The complaint was dismissed. 

The regulator said that if it found Netflix to have violated its law, it would have to inform the Dutch media authority, which oversees Netflix because the firm’s European headquarters are in the Netherlands. The Dutch regulator would in turn have the final say.

The Dutch media regulator said it could not comment on the case. Netflix also declined to comment on the investigation.

Lili Bayer contributed reporting.

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