The beautiful and moving scene has received over 100 complaints.
The BBC has received over 100 complaints after CBBC aired a same-sex kiss in the long-running Canadian mockumentary, The Next Step.
In the episode Room Service, which aired on 22 July, dancers Cleo and Jude, played by Dani Verayo and Molly Sanders respectively, were preparing to perform in their duet. Before their routine, the characters had a heart-to-heart discussion, which, after some flirting, led to the kiss.
In monologues before the kiss, Jude said: “When I dance with Cleo, I forget about everything. It’s just her. We’re dancing together and all I see is her.” Cleo adds onto that, saying: “When I dance with Jude, I feel safe and free all at the same time. When we dance together, it’s like magic.”
Although the beautiful moment received a lot of support online, it also courted its fair share of controversy, with homophobes predictably labelling it as “inappropriate.”
Sadly, this is commonplace, as adverts which show LGBTQ+ people existing continue to receive complaints, and even just the image of two men dancing platonically is labelled as ‘inappropriate’ as both Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice received complaints for their same-sex routines.
In a statement on their website, the BBC noted the complaints, and although they didn’t reveal a figure, the Metro understands that it was over 100.
In their statement, the BBC dismissed accusations that the kiss was inappropriate, saying: “The decision to include this moment, as part of a longer storyline throughout series 7 which has been tracking the development of a romantic relationship between two of the characters, Jude and Cleo, was taken very carefully and with much consideration, and came about after CBBC and Boatrocker (the production company who make the show) acknowledged that the series could and should do more to reflect the lives of LGBTQ+ young people.
“This is an important part of our mission to make sure that every child feels like they belong, that they are safe, and that they can be who they want to be.”
The statement adds: “We believe that the storyline, and the kiss, was handled with sensitivity and without sensationalism, following as it did the portrayal of Jude and Cleo’s developing relationship and I’m afraid we do not agree that it was inappropriate for the audience age.
“CBBC regularly portrays heterosexual young people dating, falling in love, and kissing, and it is an important way of showing children what respectful, kind and loving relationships look like.”
It concluded by saying: “At Children’s BBC, we are proud to reflect all areas of children’s lives across our factual and fictional output. Same-sex relationships have already featured in other CBBC shows such as Jamie Johnson, 4 O Clock Club, Dixie and Marrying Mum and Dad, and the first same-sex kiss on CBBC was in fact in Byker Grove, many years ago.
“This moment in The Next Step is merely one story among a myriad of voices and experiences across our output.”