The streaming giant would rather ax the show than submit to official's asking to remove the gay character.
Netflix is forced to cancel one of its original shows after authorities demanded the company to remove a gay character.
The streaming giant decided to entirely ax the show rather than to submit to the homophobic demands of the conservative Turkish officials.
If Only is an eight-part relationship Turkish drama set to be made by production outfit Ay Yapim.
It stars Özge Özpirinçci as an unhappily married woman who time travels to the moment her husband proposed.
Showrunner Ece Yörenç shared the sad news on her Instagram saying: "Due to a gay character, permission to film the series was not granted and this is very frightening for the future."
Producers requested a filming license from the Turkish officials to get the show running. However local authorities reportedly refused the request because If Only starred a gay character.
Authorities demanded Netflix to remove the gay character despite the lack of gay sex scenes or any physical contact between the man and any other male character in the show.
The Turkish government remains firm on its decision and it looks like even the giant company couldn't change its deeply embedded homophobia.
Presidential spokesperson Mahir Unal said via Financial Times: "Must we collectively apologize to Netflix? What do they want from us? Do we have to bless everything Netflix makes, find it proper, and sanctify it? Is there no subject where we have a right to raise reservations?"
Netflix has been known for celebrating equality by incorporating LGBTQ+ characters to its titles.
One of its latest addition is the record-smashing action thriller The Old Guard starring Charlize Theron.
Other originals like The Haunting of Hill House, Elite, Sex Education, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also have LGBTQ+ characters in them.
Digital Spy reported in 2019 that Netflix is leading the way when it comes to representation with more LGBTQ+ characters among their titles than all major US networks combined.
Netflix may have received numerous praises for its clear message on inclusivity. However, it's normal for the company to receive backlash from conservative countries, especially outside the US.
Albeit, the company remains committed to its Turkish community and viewers.
"We are proud of the incredible talent we work with. We currently have several Turkish originals in production — with more to come — and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world," a Netflix spokesperson said via Deadline.
It will take a long time before Netflix convinces strict conservative countries like Turkey to grant them creative licenses for shows that involve gay characters.
It remains unclear if the company is willing to continue "pushing for equality" in situations like this in the future.