‘Lightyear,’ the forthcoming animated Hollywood film, has become the latest Disney film to be banned in many Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Hollywood Reporter verified the story, citing insiders who claim the decision is related to the inclusion of a same-sex kiss in Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ prequel spin-off. The sequence, which features the female character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her lover, was originally deleted from the film but was returned following a backlash over a Pixar staff remark.
They alleged in that statement that Disney was limiting “overtly gay affection,” as well as Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ statute.
The UAE’s Media Regulatory Office declared on June 13 that ‘Lightyear,’ which was intended to be released on June 16, had not been approved for public screening owing to “violation of the country’s media content guidelines.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this film is the latest in a growing list of major Disney features, including ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ and ‘Eternals,’ that have faced issues in Gulf countries due to scenes involving LGBTQ references or issues, which frequently fall foul of censors for theatrical releases due to homosexuality being officially illegal across the region.
‘West Side Story’ was also barred from being shown in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait in January.