Pixar’s Lightyear banned in 14 countries over same-sex kiss

Disney-Pixar’s forthcoming film Lightyear has now reportedly been banned in 14 countries over the inclusion of a same-sex kiss scene.

On Monday, the animated film was banned by the United Arab Emirates “due to its violation of the country’s media standards”. Lightyear was scheduled to release on Thursday (16 June).

The UAE, like other nations in the wider Middle East, is a Muslim-led country that criminalises same-sex relationships.

Disney has reportedly been unable to secure the release of Lightyear in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia,

The film is unlikely to release in China as well, according to the South China Morning Post.

A producer for Lightyear reportedly told the publication that she assumed the film wouldn’t open in China after Disney declined to make the cuts authorities had asked for.

The movie, with Chris Evans voicing the character of Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story films, reportedly includes a a brief kiss between Hawthorne, the character voiced by actress Uzo Aduba, and the woman she is in a relationship with.

Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Tim Peake and Taika Waititi at the UK premiere of Lightyear (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)
Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Tim Peake and Taika Waititi at the UK premiere of Lightyear (Ian West/PA) (PA Wire)

At the London premiere for the film on Monday, Evans reportedly said these objections to the same-sex kiss were “frustrating”.

“It’s great that we are a part of something that’s making steps forward in the social inclusion capacity, but it’s frustrating that there are still places that aren’t where they should be,” the actor added.

Meanwhile, producer Galyn Susman at the event said Disney would not cut anything out of the film, “especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing by the choices that he’s making”.

The Independent has reached out to representatives of Disney for comment.

Pixar had earlier restored the same-sex kiss in Lightyear in March after staff released an open letter criticising Disney’s response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. While the nature of the characters’ relationship hadn’t been questioned by production, their kiss had reportedly been cut.

The £162m Lightyear is expected to be a major draw for Disney, with analysts estimating it could gross more than £82m in its first weekend.

Earlier this year, the Disney/Marvel release Doctor Strange in the Muliverse of Madness was denied a release in Saudi Arabia and other countries over LGBT+ content.

Additional reporting by agencies