A private Uzbek TV channel has publicly apologized and fired several of its employees after it came under criticism for airing the latest Amy Schumer film without editing out "immoral" scenes.
Sevimli TV allegedly aired scenes from I Feel Pretty featuring kissing, cuddling, and movements that suggest a man and woman are having sex. The American comedy was released in April and is being shown in movie theaters across many countries.
The movie has not yet officially premiered in Uzbek movie theaters, and it remains unclear how it came to be aired by Sevimli late on the evening of July 15.
According to some Uzbek viewers, the comedy did not sit well with their culture and "mentality."
Some viewers took to social media to condemn the "shameless scenes" that "violated Uzbek moral values."
One Facebook user called on the TV channel to "take adequate measures" against its employees who "mocked the Uzbek mentality" by airing inappropriate scenes.
The TV channel's apology came just hours after the comedy was broadcast. Sevimli mentioned critical "opinions" voiced by viewers and expressed regret over what it called "technical errors."
"Due to come technical errors, the film...was aired without editing out some short episodes that contradict our national moral values," Sevimli wrote in a post, since removed, on its Facebook page.
It said those responsible for the error were dismissed for their "negligence." Sevimli sought to reassure its viewers that "the necessary measures" had been taken to "prevent such mistakes" in the future.
A Sevimli employee who declined to disclose his name told RFE/RL on July 16 that at least three people, including an editor, were fired following the criticism.
"Usually, before airing foreign films, our staff members watch them and cut scenes that contradict our national mentality," he said. "However, this particular film was aired on Sunday evening. We were short-staffed that time. They just forget to edit the movie."
He explained that there was no special handbook or any instructions explaining to employees what is allowed and what is not allowed on Uzbek TV. "We just know it's common knowledge that certain scenes -- such as kissing, cuddling, or intimate scenes -- are not appropriate when a family is watching a movie together," the employee said.
"Unlike foreign countries, we don't have the 18+ rating for movies, or children's time on TV. We have to follow these rules 24 hours a day."
Uzbek authorities have in recent years urged performers to stick to Uzbek culture and traditions.
Female singers have been ordered not wear revealing outfits, while men have been instructed not to dress like women or wear garish jewelry.
Uzbekistan has also banned performers from sporting tattoos, showing off their wealth, or singing in a bedroom in music videos.
Those who don't obey risk losing their performance license, which is required for them to participate in concerts, appear on radio or TV, or to take part in public and official events.