The MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) will once again broadcast from Hungary next month after a pandemic hiatus, despite the country’s recent crackdown on LGBTQ rights.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide, acknowledged in an internal memo that the decision to stick to this location “may surprise anyone who knows that in June of this year Hungary passed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.”
The law, “brought forward by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling party, [bans] television content featuring gay people during the day and in primetime, only allowing it to run in the overnights,” McCarthy wrote.
McCarthy shared that when he learned about the legislation being passed, “my knee jerk reaction was that we should move the event to another country.”
“I have to be honest with you, as a gay man, my personal emotions got the better of me,” he wrote.
However, after his emotions “cooled down,” he spoke with LGBTQ advocates in Hungary and across the globe, and the decision not to move the event became “very clear” to all parties involved.
“We should not move the event,” he wrote. “Instead, we should move forward, using the show as an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary and around the world as we continue to fight for equality for all.”
Accordingly, MTV and All Out, an LGBTQ advocacy group, announced on Tuesday that their 2021 MTV EMA Generation Change Award will honor “young changemakers from around the world” who are advancing love and equality while combatting anti-LGBTQ policies.
The two organizations said they will expand their relationship through a new global partnership that will “harnesses the power” of MTV and ViacomCBS’s platforms “in 180 countries to further diversity, equity and inclusion around the world.”
“As a global organization fighting for equality around the world, we are excited to deepen our partnership with MTV Entertainment to act in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community around the world,” Matt Beard, executive director of All Out, said in a statement.
McCarthy noted that while growing up, TV portrayals of gay role models “provided a literal lifeline for me,” inspiring him to become “the full person I was meant to be.”
He added: “That is why I am so proud to work at ViacomCBS, which has always championed equality for all, and why I’m so honored to stand in solidarity with my LGBTQ+ siblings as we celebrate the 2021 MTV EMAs from Hungary.”
Hungary’s anti-gay law, against which the European Commission has taken legal action, could impact shows like Modern Family and Friends.
Because of this, ViacomCBS, to which MTV belongs, and others like Google and Lego “banded together to publicly oppose this law stating it would increase discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ people,” McCarthy wrote in the memo.
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