YouTube censors famous awards ceremony of Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week

YouTube has censored the live broadcasting of annual "Genetically Modified Tomato Awards" Ceremony which was held by Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week Committee. The nominees are determined by an open call on social media each year. The awards detect and “reward” the LGBTI+phobic speeches and actions.

Duvar English

YouTube on June 26 censored the live broadcasting of Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week's annual Genetically Modified Tomatoes Awards, citing a violation of its "Terms of Service."

Istanbul Pride celebrated online with artist supportIstanbul Pride celebrated online with artist support

Upon this move, the Pride Week's committee announced that they were launching another broadcast with a separate link. YouTube also banned this link, as a result of which the famous Awards ceremony was moved to Zoom.

YouTube's move drew ire among Turkish social media users, who wanted an apology and explanation for this action.

IstanbulPride Week ever year draws attention to hate speech by high-profilehomophobes and transphobes with the Genetically Modified TomatoAwards, which are determined through online votes. 

Thename “Genetically Modified Tomato” dates back to 2005 whenformer football referee and current football commentator ErmanToroğlu declared, “don’t eat genetically modified tomatoes, theywill make you gay.”

This statement had earned him the first ever Genetically Modified Tomato Award.

This year's Istanbul Pride takes off online amid COVID-19 pandemicThis year's Istanbul Pride takes off online amid COVID-19 pandemic

TheAwards Ceremony is one where the handing of awards is accompanied notwith applause but with booing.

The awards are given in several categories, such as TV, media, medicine and education. Some of the winners of this year were Turkey's top cleric Ali Erbaş, British writer J.K. Rowling, Boğaziçi University Rectorate, pro-government columnist Hilal Kaplan, heart surgeon Metin Çakır who is based in Germany and journalist İsmail Küçükkaya who is the host of Fox TV’s “Çalar Saat” program.

This year's Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride week started on June 22 with a week-long schedule, entirely planned online. The theme of the Pride Week was “Where am I?” focusing on safe spaces for queers during the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration.