MTV awards show held in Hungary set to highlight nation's anti-LGBTQ laws

MTV is defending its decision to hold next month's Europe Music Awards (EMAs) in Hungary despite international pushback to the country's restrictive new anti-LGBTQ law, saying the ceremony will highlight gay and trans rights.

Hungary’s government recently passed legislation prohibiting the sharing with minors of any content that portrays homosexuality or gender reassignment.

Human rights groups have denounced the measure, saying that it wrongly links gays to pedophilia and is merely a tool to harass citizens who identify as LGBTQ. 

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“We’re looking forward to using the event to amplify our voices and stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ siblings,” MTV President and CEO Chris McCarthy told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“We’ve made it very clear and we have from the beginning ... we do not allow editorial input as it relates to the artists” and the content we create, he said, emphasizing that Hungary will not be allowed to censor the broadcast. “That’s always a condition regardless of whatever country we go into.” 

McCarthy also issued a memo to employees about the decision, saying he thought about moving the EMAs to another country but consulted with company leadership and various LGBTQ groups to keep the event in Hungary. 

The network reached an agreement to hold the event in the nation’s capital of Budapest in 2019, the AP reported. 

“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,” McCarthy said in the memo, according to the AP. 

The EMAs, launched in 1994, will honor young LGBTQ activists with the Generation Change Award, a partnership with LGBTQ activist group All Out, the AP noted.

The news comes amid sharp pushback from Netflix staffers criticizing the company for not removing comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, “The Closer,” from the streaming service despite it including a number of transphobic comments.