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Shanghai Moon: Iranian TV sacks staff for uncensored Jackie Chan sex scene

Iranians took to social media to mock the swift response after nudity slipped through the cracks of the country's tight censorship rules
Jackie Chan is known for action movies such as Karate Kid, Rush Hour, and Shanghai Noon (AFP)

A regional boss of Iran's state broadcaster IRIB has been fired after inadvertently letting a Jackie Chan sex scene slip through its tight censorship rules, local media reported on Monday.

Viewers on Iran's Kish Island, off the southern coast of Iran, were shocked when their local TV station showed the martial arts star having sex with a prostitute in one of his films.

Although unconfirmed in local media, the movie was most likely 2009’s Shinjuku Incident, reportedly one of only two movies in which Chan has acted in a sex scene.

While the sex scene showed minimal nudity - another scene from the movie showing Chan's naked behind having been removed by censors - it remains far beyond the usual limits in Iran, where men and women are not even allowed to shake hands on screen.

The national television channel reacted quickly after a viewer posted a clip of the offending scene online.

"Clips of immoral scenes of a film featuring Jackie Chan have been circulating on social media which was apparently shown by Kish IRIB," the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

"These scenes, which are in total contradiction with the principles of IRIB, have ultimately led to the dismissal and reprimand of some of the employees of IRIB in Kish," it said, adding this included IRIB's director-general for Kish.

Angry response

Some Iranians responded angrily to the news of the sackings, pointing out that no one had been fired over a fatal bus crash that killed 10 students at Tehran's Azad University last week that sparked protests.

"Buses turn over, planes crash, ships sink... no one is dismissed... A few seconds of Jackie Chan making love on IRIB and immediately all staff in that section are sacked," one Twitter user wrote.

IRIB TV presenter Reza Rashidpoor joked on his morning talk show that the controversy could have been avoided if IRIB had included a caption saying Chan was married to the actor playing the sex worker.

Buses turn over, planes crash, ships sink... no one is dismissed... A few seconds of Jackie Chan making love on IRIB and immediately all staff in that section are sacked

- Iranian Twitter user

He was referring to a programme last week in which IRIB added a caption to say a couple holding hands on screen were married in real life.

Iran’s religiously conservative government enforces strict censorship in movies showing sex scenes, romantic relationships between unmarried male and female characters, drug or alcohol use, and sorcery.

Chan, who had long cultivated a family-friendly image, shocked fans in November when he released a tell-all memoir revealing a history of domestic violence, drunk driving and soliciting sex workers.