Pixar’s Lightyear is set to be released into theaters soon — it will premiere in the United States this week, on June 17th.
The movie focuses on legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear, who gets stuck on another planet with his robot companion, Sox the cat. We’ve already seen the trailer, and there has been special treats and merchandise released for the film. But, some countries around the world will not be able to watch the movie any time soon.
Several countries have banned Pixar’s Lightyear from being released in movie theaters due to a same-sex kiss shown in the movie. The United Arab Emirates and Malaysia have banned the movie, according to NBC News. Saudi Arabia has also banned the movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film is not going to be shown in the UAE “due to its violation of the country’s media content standards,” said the Media Regulatory Office of the country’s Ministry of Youth and Culture in a tweet, according to NBC News.
The country had already advertised showtimes for the film, but the social media campaign with the hashtag “Ban Showing Lightyear in the Emirates” caught people’s attention over the weekend. They said showing a lesbian couple on screen is “against their culture and religion,” according to NBC News.
Lightyear includes a female character voiced by actress Uzo Aduba kissing her female partner. The United Arab Emirates, along with many other countries in the Middle East, is a Muslim-led country that criminalizes same-sex relationships.
The scene was actually originally cut from the film, but was later reinstated following the uproar around a statement from Pixar employees who said that Disney had been censoring “overtly gay affection,” as well as Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film has also been restricted in Singapore. The country gave the movie a NC16 rating due to the kiss, meaning kids under the age of 16 won’t be able to watch it. Singapore issued the rating saying that while it’s an “excellent animated film set in the US context, Singapore is a diverse society where we have multiple sensibilities and viewpoints,” according to Bloomberg.
Media regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) did ask Disney to consider releasing the film in two different versions, but this request was turned down, according to Bloomberg.
Lightyear producer Galyn Susman told Reuters, “We’re not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing by the choices that he’s making, so that’s not getting cut,” according to Yahoo! News.
When asked about the reinstatement of the kiss, actor Chris Evans, who voices Buzz Lightyear in the film, told Variety, “I mean, it’s great. As great as it is…it’s nice, and it’s wonderful, it makes me happy. It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion. That it is this kind of “news.” The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is. That representation across the board is how we make films. Look, it’s an honor to be a part of something that is taking those steps, but the goal is to look back on this time and just be shocked that it took us this long to get there.”
This is not the first time Disney movies have been banned in other countries due to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ representation. Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was banned in many Gulf countries, as was Marvel’s Eternals and West Side Story, among others, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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