'Lightyear' Banned From Release In 14 Countries After Disney Refused To Delete Lesbian Couple's Kiss

Lightyear it has become a battlefield for LGBTI rights. Its world premiere will no longer be worldwide. This world prequel toy story (a filmic universe that started 27 years ago), which is launched in the different territories —in the film industry there are no countries, only territories, which do not exactly coincide with the nations— between tomorrow, Wednesday, and Friday the 17th (when it reaches the Spanish rooms), it will not be able to be seen in Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) nor in others in Asia such as Malaysia.

Pixar and its parent company, Disney, had not even submitted it to the Saudi Arabian censorship, knowing that it would not be approved there, but according to Variety it had passed a first screening in the UAE. In the end, 14 countries in the Middle East and Asia, among which, in addition to those mentioned, include Indonesia, Egypt or Lebanon, have prohibited the film from being shown in their cinemas for including a kiss from a same-sex couple. And the release in China, one of the largest film markets in the world, is in the air. In many of these nations homosexuality is considered a crime.

This sequence was one of those mentioned three months ago by Pixar animators when they protested the law against LGTBI rights in the State of Florida, to which Disney seemed to adhere. The workers claimed in March that executives at the parent company had requested cuts of “nearly every moment of gay displays of affection” in Pixar movies despite resistance and protests from creative teams and management at the studio, bought by the entertainment giant in 2006. “We at Pixar have witnessed how beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, return from the corporate review of Disney in a version reduced to the crumbs of what they were,” said the text addressed to the CEO of the company, Bob Chapek, who came to the position last year, replacing Bob Iger.

And in those discarded sequences there was the lesbian kiss in Lightyear. Disney, which has six theme parks in Florida, backed down and brought it back. The company had not altered the dynamic between the two, but it did remove the kiss between the women from the screen, according to the magazine. Variety. A friend of Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger, marries another woman onscreen, with whom she has couple sequences that include a kiss.

In addition, the Chinese authorities have asked Disney for some short films. The production company has clarified that it has not yet received a definitive answer from the Chinese government, but the censorship of this Asian country has already rejected other manifestations of homosexuality on the screen in the past. “We’re not going to cut anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspiring relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing out on by the decisions he makes, so that’s not going to be cut,” producer Galyn Susman told Reuters at the red carpet of the premiere of the film, in London.

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Actor Chris Evans, who gives voice to the protagonist Buzz Lightyear in place of Tim Allen, also made his opinion clear. The one who has been Captain America until now has described the situation as “frustrating”: “It is great that we are part of something that is taking steps forward in the capacity for social inclusion, but it is frustrating that there are still places that are not where should be”.

Although beyond the frustration, Pixar has sent a message of calm, since, despite the magnitude of the Asian market, the Chinese box office only accounted for 3% of the world box office toy story 4, which exceeded one billion euros. A few months ago, Disney already ruled out releasing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in several countries for the same reason. However, it is the first time this clash against censorship has been made public.

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