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Exclusive: Amazon censors The Boys Season 3 in India


Amazon has censored nudity in The Boys season 3 in India, Entrackr has found. At least one scene depicting full frontal male nudity has been blurred extensively to cover up male genitalia. In the third episode, an expletive adverb preceding the word ‘Muslims’ is deleted, and so is a remark calling a Muslim character “Captain Al Qaeda”. 

The term “Al Qaeda” was also censored by Amazon in the Hindi, Tamil and Telugu dubs of the episode.

These changes have been made in spite of the fact that the series carries an A rating on Prime Video, only cleared for viewing by adults.

This censorship is not present in the version of the series carried on Amazon Prime Video in other countries reviewed by Entrackr. Over the weekend, news outlet halkTV reported that this censorship was applied in Turkey too.

We have reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update this post if we receive a response from the company.

Amazon Prime Video’s catalog was censored at launch in India, but over time, this censorship was reduced. When The Marvelous Mrs Maisel was censored in 2018, US executives warned their India subordinates to avoid censoring non-Indian original content this way, Mid-Day had reported that year. But with the latest release of The Boys’ new season, it appears that the company has changed tack.

The censored scene reviewed by Entrackr features (explicit details follow, be warned) a scene where a Supe (a genetically modified human with superhuman powers) shrinks in size and dives into his partner’s urethra. The Supe’s genitalia is blurred, as is a close-up enlarged shot of his partner’s glans.

Streaming services are not expressly prohibited from featuring nudity on their services, and shows with explicit sex scenes are routinely released in India. The Information Technology (Intermediary Liability and Digital Media Ethics Code), 2021 notified by the Indian government says that age classifications on content featuring such scenes should be higher, and The Boys fulfills that requirement, and goes above and beyond in implementing this censorship.

Amazon extensively censored its content at launch in 2018 in India, from its own originals all the way to licensed films like Watchmen and The Godfather, in spite of the fact that other platforms were running some of this content without cuts in India. An episode of its automobile show The Grand Tour was shortened to remove a scene of a vehicle with a chassis made with a cow skeleton.

Amazon has faced blowback in the past not because of international content like The Boys, but due to Indian shows with critical themes of the Indian right wing and Hindutva. The show Tandav was the target of an orchestrated campaign against some scenes that upset some Hindu viewers. Following that campaign, the company removed scenes that right wing groups complained about, and issued an apology.

The latest self censorship seems to be a clear case of not pushing their luck with Indian regulators on an issue that will probably not deliver any advantages otherwise.  Keep in mind that technically, most porn sites are banned in India, which has allowed a whole new category of sexually explicit streaming services to crop up. For all we know, Amazon’s actions would indicate a possible anticipation of action against these services too, which have come up on the back of nudity that has been allowed to pass through on the larger, brand name OTT’s like Netflix, Prime Video and more. Being categorised with these kinds of streaming services is surely not the PR any of these OTT players want.

Update (June 6): Post updated with information about further censorship, and its application in Turkey.

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