The latest animated film produced by Walt Disney Co, “Lightyear,” reportedly failed to get a screening permit in several countries in the Middle East and Asia, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The ban came about because of the same-sex kissing scene in the film, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The animated film “Lightyear” is a spin-off prequel to the “Toy Story” franchise under Pixar. Captain America actor, Chris Evans, voices the main character, Buzz Lightyear.
It is explained that in this film, Buzz has a close friend with a female space ranger named Alisha Hawtorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), who has a same-sex relationship with another female character. The kiss scene between the two also aired and seemed to be why some countries boycotted this film.
Initially, the scene was planned to be cut from the film. Still, the plan was scrapped after controversial statements by Pixar staff accusing Disney of overtly restricting same-sex love and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ statue.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s Office of Media Regulation announced on June 13 that “Lightyear,” scheduled to be released on June 16, did not get permission for public viewing due to violations of the country’s media content guidelines. In general, homosexuality is considered a crime in many countries in the Middle East.
Apart from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, and Lebanon are also rumored to be banning the screening of this film. However, as of this writing, no official ban has been issued by these countries.
Besides Lightyear, Saudi Arabia has also banned the screening of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness because it featured the lesbian character America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). And Eternals features a kissing scene between the same sex, and West Side Story, which has a transgender character named Anybodys (Iris Menas).