Jun 14, 2022 - World

Disney Pixar's "Lightyear" featuring same-sex kiss won't be released in 14 countries

A scene from "Lightyear."

A spaceship scene from "Lightyear." Photo: Disney/Pixar

Disney Pixar's latest film "Lightyear," which features a scene with a same-sex kiss, has been banned in at least one Middle Eastern country and won’t currently be released in at least 13 others.

Driving the news: The United Arab Emirates announced Monday through its Media Regulatory Office that "Lightyear" had been banned "due to its violation of the country’s media content standards." Same-sex relations are criminalized in the UAE, per the State Department.

The tweet included a poster of the film with a red "no" symbol over it, but the office did not elaborate on the ban.

The latest: A source familiar with the matter told Axios that the film does not have a release certificate in the following 13 countries in addition to the UAE:

  • Indonesia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.

Context: Movie theaters in the UAE had already started marketing showtimes for the movie, but a social media campaign last weekend called “Ban Showing Lightyear in the Emirates" drew attention to the film's same-sex kiss, per the Associated Press.

  • Malaysia will also reportedly ban the film, per the AP.
  • Disney Pixar did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

"Lightyear," which premieres on June 17 features the first-ever same-sex kiss to be featured in a Disney animated film, and it takes place between main character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and another woman.

Tweet of Lightyear movie.
Screenshot of the Media Regulatory Office tweet on "Lightyear." Photo: @uaemro

The backdrop: Pixar had reportedly cut the scene from production initially, before adding it back in after facing internal backlash over LGBTQ representation in movies, per The Hollywood Reporter.

  • This happened around the time that Disney faced criticism from employees about the company's cautious statement on Florida's bill restricting discussion of LGBTQ issues in classrooms statewide Axios' Sara Fischer writes (Disney later denounced the bill).

Chris Evans, who voices Buzz Lightyear in the film, confirmed to Variety the scene was cut and then added back into the movie.

  • "It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion," he said.
  • "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," Evans told Variety. "That representation across the board is how we make films."
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