Disney movies are one of the most lucrative movies today, both domestically and globally. However, it seems that their latest installment is facing troubles overseas. Another chapter has been added to Disney’s saga with Gulf censors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio’s latest film, Lightyear, has been banned in a number of Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The film joins ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,’ ‘West Side Story,’ and ‘Eternals’ on a growing list of major Disney films that have been censored in the Gulf because they contain LGBT sequences.
The decision is tied to Pixar’s Toy Story prequel spin-inclusion off’s of a same-sex kiss. The scene features the female character Hawthorne and her partner. It was originally cut from the film, but it was reinstated after the uproar over a statement from Pixar employees alleging that Disney had been censoring “overtly gay affection” and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Due to “violation of the country’s media content standards,” the UAE’s Media Regulatory Office said on June 13 that the film, which was set to be released on June 16, would not be licensed for public viewing. Lightyear joins a long list of Disney films that have suffered censorship in Gulf countries due to scenes including LGBTQ references or issues, which frequently fall foul of censors for theatrical release due to homosexuality being banned in the region.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was denied a theatrical license in April, reportedly due to the inclusion of the character America Chavez, who is gay in the comics. This came after Chloé Zhao’s Eternals was banned in much of the Gulf in November due to the inclusion of a same-gender marriage and the MCU’s first homosexual superhero in the film.
It was believed at the time that censors sought a number of changes that Disney was unwilling to make. However, an altered version was shown in the United Arab Emirates. This time, regional source said that the decision was made because of the character Anybodys, who is performed by nonbinary actress Iris Menas, and is written as transgender in the new adaptation. Disney has not responded to any request for comment.
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