MTV is forging ahead with the annual European Music Awards (EMAs) in Hungary in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, despite the country passing laws in June that ban content deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change on primetime television.
If enforced, the legislation could force the likes of Harry Potter and series like “Modern Family” and “Friends” into late-night TV slots. The move has been roundly condemned by leading global companies, including MTV’s parent company ViacomCBS.
“I have to be honest with you, as a gay man, my personal emotions got the better of me,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO, MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide, in a heartfelt memo sent internally to staff, explaining that the Hungary venue was set two years ago.
“After learning this legislation passed, my knee-jerk reaction was that we should move the event to another country. However, after my emotions cooled down, I picked up the phone to connect with global LGBTQ+ advocates like All Out, got feedback from LGBTQ+ advocates in Hungary, spoke with Raffaele, Bruce and other team members from around the world, and consulted our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, Emerge.”
“The decision was very clear to all of us,” McCarthy wrote. “We should not move the event. 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.”
Consequently, the 2021 MTV EMAs will return live from the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna in Hungary on Nov. 14.
“With a global footprint spanning 180 countries and countless cultures, the 2021 MTV EMAs will be an incredible moment for every member of our audience to come together to celebrate music and the power it has to transcend borders,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. “After such a long period, I couldn’t be happier for the EMAs to land in Budapest for what’s sure to be an extraordinary night that will resonate globally.”
The show’s host, nominees, performers and presenters will be announced at a later date.