Disney's $200-million-film "Lightyear" was banned in Muslim countries for including a same-sex kissing scene amidst its release in theaters last June 17.
The Associated Press highlighted that "Lightyear" was banned in thirteen nations excluding the Palestinian territory. The movie, which is a prequel to the "Toy Story" movies, focuses on the story of Buzz Lightyear voiced by actor Chris Evans.
The said countries are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the rest of the United Arab Emirates; Saudi Arabia; Oman; Qatar; Kuwait; Lebanon; Iraq; Jordan; Malaysia; Egypt; and Bahrain. The film was banned in these countries where same-sex relationships are criminalized.
The Controversial Lesbian Kiss
The scene in question, as previously reported by Christianity Daily, involved a brief kiss between Alisha Hawthorne, who is voiced by actress Uzo Aduba, kissing her female partner. The scene happens in the first 30 minutes of the movie.
The scene was originally cut by Disney but was put back again after the company's bout with Florida's Parental Rights In Education Act or House Bill 1557, which bans the teaching of sexual orientation and gender in classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade Three.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek vowed its full support of the LGBTQ+ community who opposed the Florida Law, which they tagged as the "Don't Say Gay" bill and find as discriminatory. This is despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis repeatedly clarifying that the law does have anything in its text in it and only aims to allow kids to be kids.
In particular, Pixar's LGBTQ+ employees raised in a statement to Disney that the company's executives have been censoring scenes from their movies where intimate gay affection is conveyed. Disney then responded by returning the scene to "Lightyear."
Lightyear Producer Refused To Adhere To Censorship
Fox News said the movie was initially approved by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board with parental guidance for those aged 13 and below on the condition that the same-sex kissing scene would be removed. In particular, the board ordered parts of the movie to be cut and muted where "elements promoting the LGBT lifestyle, which violate key aspects of the Guidelines on the Film Censorship" have been found.
However, Disney's film distributors did not comply with the order of the Malaysian board, which then decided to ban the film instead. The board stressed that it is firm in its stand and will not compromise it on any LGBTQ scenes. The board, however, did not specify which particular scene violated their guidelines.
The Muslim Skeptic said the film's producer reasoned they will not accommodate the "backward beliefs" of the countries censoring the same-sex scene. The media outlet condemned the producer for calling Muslim countries backward.
"We Muslims, with our true and 'backward' beliefs, were able to generate significant enough backlash to ensure that our children won't be exposed to this filth. In fact, in more liberalized Muslim countries like the UAE the movie was on the verge of being screened, and perhaps they would have had it not been for Muslims putting in serious effort to oppose it," the Muslim Skeptic raised.
Meanwhile, Evans called those banning the film "idiots" in an interview with Reuters. The actor said such countries are only afraid and would "die off like dinosaurs." He stressed that these bans should simply be ignored and just move on in embracing what he alleged as the "growth that makes us human."