RAI under fire for ‘Brokeback’ cuts

Italian gay-rights activists claim censorship

A bowdlerized “Brokeback Mountain” aired by pubcaster RAI has drawn fire from Italo gay-rights activists, who claim sex was clipped from the gay oater due to homophobic censorship.

“It’s like showing the Mona Lisa without it’s head,” lamented gay rights activist and former member of parliament Vladimir Luxuria.

The Ang Lee-helmed pic aired in a late-evening slot on RAI-2 without key scenes in which the two cowboys, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, make love in a tent and, later, kiss.

The pubcaster blamed the incident on a mixup, a contention backed up by Italo distrib BIM Distribuzione. “They simply ran the wrong print,” says BIM topper Valerio De Paolis.

RAI had requested an edited copy for possible airing in primetime.

“What happened is they then scheduled the film in a later slot and forgot to run (the intact) print,” says De Paolis.

The “Brokeback” censorship camp, however, wasn’t having it.

“I don’t believe it was oversight. It was preventive censorship,” lashed out Luxuria, who, however, stands as testimony that Italian TV viewers generally aren’t homophobes.

Luxuria, the first transvestite ever elected to the Italian parliament, last month took the most votes from RAI-2 viewers to win the “Celebrity Island” trophy.

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