Hungary’s National Opera has cancelled the performance of Billy Elliot following a homophobic campaign in a national newspaper.
The popular musical was planned to open in Budapest and run for 29 performances but now 15 shows have been cancelled despite ticket sales doing well, according to local media reports.
Szilveszter Okavacs, the director of the institution, told the Hungarian online newspaper 444.hu: “The negative campaign of the last few weeks with regard to the production Billy Elliot has brought down the sale of tickets significantly.”
In the daily newspaper, Magyor Idok, a series of stories telling readers that the production risked “transforming Hungarian boys into homosexuals” were published.
One article argued that the state tries to promote the traditional family but at the same time shows like Billy Elliot promote a "deviant way of life".
In Hungary it is currently legal to be gay – with the age of consent being 14 – and despite discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in the country, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same legal rights available to opposite-sex married couples.
Registered partnership for same-sex couples was legalized in 2009.