Pixar's Lightyear will not be showing in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Malaysia, among other West Asia territories due to the inclusion of a same-sex kiss among two female characters in the film.
According to Variety, the scene, which involves the new space ranger Alisa and her partner kissing each other on the lips, had originally been cut from the film by Disney. However, Pixar had restored the scene following blowback from studio animators who in a previously released open letter claimed Disney had been demanding cuts censoring "overtly gay affection."
Although the open letter was in response to Disney CEO Bob Chapek's handling of Florida's controversial "Parental Rights in Education" bill, commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay Bill," Disney has routinely made edits to its films in order to comply with censorship rules in other countries. In this case, it appears Disney was unwilling or unable to make the edits requested by local censors. And as a result, Lightyear will not play in these regions.
It's reported that Disney had never submitted Lightyear to cesors in Saudi, knowing it would no pass. However, the film had been initially approved for release in the UAE. However, that license was revoked following calls on social media that accused Disney and Lightyear of insulting Muslims and Islam.
This isn't the first DIsney film to be banned in the region. Both Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Eternals were both banned in several Middle Eastern countries for similar reasons. Lightyear is scheduled to hit theaters in North America on June 17, 2022.
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