For months, rumors have been circulating that Disney and Pixar’s latest animated blockbuster, Lightyear, would feature the studio’s first same-sex kiss. However, the scene in question has not been without controversy.
In March 2022, Variety reported that although the spinoff of toy story featured a same-sex relationship, “the kissing scene between astronaut Alisha and her partner was cut from the film.”
In the end, however, the sequence was upheld following protests from Pixar employees who sent a joint statement to Walt Disney Company leaders, claiming that studio executives had actively censored “openly gay affect” in their feature films.
Despite this, a few days after its premiere, the scene of Lightyear continues to cause controversy to such a degree that the movie is now banned in 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia and other countries in the Middle East and Asia, governed by Islamic law that criminalizes the activity consensual sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex.
In the particular case of the United Arab Emirates, although the country had recently announced that it would no longer censor international films, this Monday, June 13, the Media Regulation Office of the Ministry of Youth and Culture announced through the official account of Twitter that the film will not be shown in the country.
According to the statement, the film “is not licensed for public screening in all theaters in the United Arab Emirates due to its violation of the country’s media content standards”:
The Media Regulatory Office announced that the animated film Lightyear, which is scheduled for release on 16th June, is not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country’s media content standards. pic.twitter.com/f3iYwXqs1D
– مكتب تنظيم الإعلام (@uaemro) June 13, 2022
The office confirms that all films shown in theaters across the country are subject to monitoring and evaluation before the date of release to the public, to ensure the safety of circulated content according to the appropriate age rating.
Theaters in the UAE had already announced the showtimes for the film. However, over the weekend, a social media campaign with the hashtags Arabic “Ban on showing ‘Lightyear’ in the Emirates” caught the attention of conservative Emiratis, who described showing a lesbian couple on screen as “contrary to their culture and religion”.