Lightyear: UAE, Malaysia and others ban Pixar movie for lesbian character kiss

Lightyear: UAE, Malaysia and others ban Pixar movie for lesbian character kiss

Lightyear: UAE, Malaysia and others ban Pixar movie for lesbian character kiss

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The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar on Monday banned the theatrical release of Disney-Pixar’s animated feature Lightyear because it features characters in a homosexual relationship.


The film would not be allowed to be screened in the UAE as it violated the national media content standard, the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Media Regulatory Office wrote on Twitter.

The UAE’s decision to ban Lightyear seems particularly egregious as it comes amid the international celebration of the LGBTQ+ community during the ongoing Pride month.

Media Regulatory Office executive director Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi later told Reuters the film was banned due to the inclusion of “gay” characters in several scenes.

A Disney representative did not immediately respond to emailed questions to Reuters about the ban, prompting praise from some on social media nationwide.

Like many other countries in the Middle East, same-sex relations are criminalized in the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf country of around 10 million people where most of the population is foreign.

Lightyear, which had been announced by cinemas in the United Arab Emirates for a June 16 release, centers on the action figure character Buzz Lightyear from the popular Toy Story franchise.

The film features Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz and Uzo Aduba as Alisha Hawthorne. Aduba’s character is in a relationship with another woman, whom she kisses in the film.

Prior to Monday’s decision, an Arabic hashtag calling for the film not to be shown in the United Arab Emirates was trending on Twitter.

In the past, films featuring same-sex relationships have been banned by regulators in Muslim-majority countries, while others with profanity or illicit drug use are sometimes censored.

The United Arab Emirates’ Media Regulatory Office had announced in December that international versions of films would be shown in the country.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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