The controversy lasted only a few hours, but it was enough for it to rain criticism of RTP for having, albeit momentarily, taken off the air the children’s series Fearless, considering that the language of the episode about Thérèse Clerc – who narrated his life alongside topics such as the fight for the legalization of abortion, homosexuality and feminism, but which also addressed religion and conservatism – was not suitable for children. With this censorship by the public channel, it was understood that topics such as LGTB rights and the history of women’s emancipation were not suitable for the children’s Portuguese, but were french, since the series originated in a French production and, so far, was not censored.
A decision that, justifies RTP, was motivated by several complaints that were addressed to the channel and also to the Media Regulator, from people who considered that this episode was not suitable for the programming of Zig Zag, hurting the “susceptibilities” of children, but also by the provider of the RTP Viewer, Jorge Wemans, who addressed to the direction of programs a letter recommending that the episode in question be even removed from RTP Play. One of the complaints came from the National Renovator Party, which even said to make a criminal complaint against the RTP in the Attorney General’s Office, choosing, to announce this decision, illustrate it with a printscreen of the series, at a time when two women kiss.
After the case was reported by various media outlets at the end of the day on Thursday, June 25, RTP finally issued a statement explaining that it had decided to withdraw the series from the Zig Zag section, moving it to the RTP2 series and could also be previewed on RTP Play. “About the Fearless series I must inform that it has not been suspended nor from RTP 2 (…) or RTP Play. The episode about Thérèse Clerc was temporarily suspended from the ZiG Zag space because we recognize that the language used with regard to abortion was not the most appropriate for the target audience (10-13 years) and will return as soon as the folding is redone” explained Teresa Paixão, Director of RTP2, on the channel’s Facebook. “The 30 episodes that make up the series can be seen in full, with the translation approximated to the original text on RTP Play, including the episode that gave rise to this issue in the space of the RTP2 series.”
The fearless series is an adaptation of the literary work Culottées, created by Pénélope Bagieu and a French production in charge of France Télévision that arrived at RTP with the voice of actress Joana Ribeiro. The series, which premiered on the public channel in March on the occasion of International Women’s Day, tells the stories of pioneered and daring women, chronologically, in 30 episodes of about 3 minutes each: the first is dedicated to Aagnodice, the Greek gynecologist who risked her life so that women could practice medicine in her country. From actresses to activists, from empresses to scientists, this series clearly chronicles the fearless struggles of iconic women, with mentalities ahead of their time, such as Wu Zeitan, the Chinese empress who was a forerunner of labor law, or Leymah Gbowee, who fought for peace in Liberia and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2011. Pénélope Bagieu’s book “Fearless – Women Who Only Do What They Want” is available in bookstores.