The scene was initially cut from the movie but was reinstated after the Disney controversy over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which some critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) wrote that in “Lightyear,” a female character named Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) greets her female partner with a kiss. This moment is what allegedly led to the movie getting banned in parts of the Middle East.
“Lightyear” was banned “due to its violation of the country’s media content standards,” the country’s media regulator said in a tweet, not specifying which standard had been violated. Industry insiders speculate it’s because of the kiss between two female characters.
— UAE Forsan (@UAE_Forsan) June 13, 2022
American audiences aren’t entirely thrilled with the inclusion either. “Lightyear” is a “Toy Story” prequel spinoff that tells the origin story of the popular robot character Buzz Lightyear. It’s being explicitly marketed to young children, which is why the kiss was removed in the first place, and some parental backlash is guaranteed.
“What a coincidence, it’s banned at my house too #Disney #grooming #groomers” one person tweeted in response to the news.
— nando (@elnandoalvarez) June 13, 2022
It’s not the first time a movie was banned in the Middle East for homosexual content. THR notes that in April, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was denied a theatrical release due to its inclusion of a gay character. “Eternals” also included a gay superhero and a same-sex couple. Disney was allegedly asked to make edits per censors in some countries and refused. Though an edited version did appear in the UAE.
It’s worth noting that “Doctor Strange” and “Eternals” are both rated PG-13. “Lightyear” was given a PG rating.
The romantic relationship between the two female characters in “Lightyear” was never hidden, as The Daily Wire reported in March, but the kiss was initially cut from the final product. It was only reinstated after Disney CEO Bob Chapek got slammed for censoring “‘overtly gay content’” in children’s movies.
“‘Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest[s] from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar,’” a statement from LGBTQ employees and allies at Pixar and Disney, given to Variety, read. “[I]f creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The kiss got added back into the movie shortly after.
“Lightyear” premieres June 17.
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids’ entertainment content.)