Advertisers have withdrawn from popular French series Touche pa a mon poste (Don’t touch my TV set) following a homophobic stunt that played on live television, LGBTQ Nation reports.
The show’s host Cyril Hanouna created a fake online dating profile, pretending to be a bisexual man. He then took calls from men and got them to describe their fantasies live on air, without their knowledge that they were being broadcasted.
The dangerous prank also outed a teenager when his family recognised his voice on the TV show.
French LGBT+ organisation Le Refuge say the 19-year-old was kicked out of his home as a result and is in “a state of terrible moral distress”.
According to Twitter user @ParisPasRose, advertisers Groupama, SFR, Chanel, Orange and Thomson have abandoned the program following the incident.
France’s television regulation body has also received over 25,000 complaints about the episode from distressed viewers.
Hanouna immediately defended the ‘prank’ saying it was “sad” that people considered it homophobic however he has since changed apologised, according to Unicorn Booty.
“I never wanted to be malicious, undermine any human dignity or any privacy whatsoever,” he said.
“On the contrary. I always thought that laugh at everything with everyone was the best way to respect all differences to include, to reconcile, to assemble in short to love.”