Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an upcoming American superhero film based on Marvel Comics’ Doctor Strange. Despite worldwide excitement, the film has reportedly been banned in Saudi Arabia due to having a gay character. It seems Disney is unwilling to cut LGBTQ scenes despite the ban.
An official from Saudi Arabia stated recently that the kingdom has asked Disney to remove LGBTQ allusions from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before it can be broadcast there, but rejected earlier rumors that the film has been banned.
Disney has so far refused to make the required changes to the Doctor Strange sequel, which is set to be released worldwide next week. According to The Guardian, Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of movie classification, the deletions amount to just 12 seconds in which a lesbian character, America Chavez, played by actor Xochitl Gomez, alludes to her two mom.
It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms. And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this. We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing. It will never be banned. There’s no reason to ban the film. It’s a simple edit … So far they have refused. But we haven’t closed the door. We’re still trying.
The Hollywood Reporter said on Friday that there were unsubstantiated indications that the picture had been banned in Kuwait. Advance tickets were no longer available in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Qatar, but they were still available in the United Arab Emirates. When asked about the picture, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, an AMC Cinemas employee in Saudi Arabia said it had been withdrawn.
This isn’t the first time a Marvel film has run afoul of Saudi authorities. The Eternals, which stars a gay couple, attracted edit demands from Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia in November. The film was not shown because Disney declined to make the cuts.
In late 2017, Saudi Arabia abolished a decades-long ban on all cinemas, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s series of social changes aimed at shaking up the traditionally conservative monarchy. Variety magazine claimed in January that movie ticket sales in 2021 were US$238 million, up 95 percent from the previous year.
In Saudi Arabia, which is recognised for its stringent interpretation of Islamic sharia law, which serves as the foundation of its court system, homosexuality is a deadly offence. In the United States, Disney’s position on LGBTQ rights has sparked debate.
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill on Friday that repeals a regulation that has allowed Disney to act as a local government in Orlando, home to the Disney World theme park, for decades. The move was the latest escalation in a feud with Florida officials, which began in March when the corporation criticized the passing of a legislation prohibiting school lessons on sexual orientation.
Share your thoughts in the comments & stay tuned to Thirsty for more!