United Arab Emirates bans Pixar's 'Lightyear' over lesbian characters' kiss

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Monday's ban on the Pixar animated film "Lightyear" by the United Arab Emirates came after it included a kiss between two lesbian characters.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
14 June 2022 Tuesday 06:59
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United Arab Emirates bans Pixar's 'Lightyear' over lesbian characters' kiss

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Monday's ban on the Pixar animated film "Lightyear" by the United Arab Emirates came after it included a kiss between two lesbian characters.

Malaysia reportedly plans to ban the film as well. This raises the possibility that other Muslim-majority countries could also ban the film.

Emirates, which is home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai announced via its Media Regulatory Office of Dubai's Ministry of Youth and Culture, that the film would not open in the country on Thursday.

In a tweet, the office stated that the film was not licensed to be shown in public cinemas in the UAE because it violated the country's media standards. "The office confirms all films shown in cinemas throughout the country will be subject to evaluation and follow-up before being released to the public. This is to ensure that the content is safe according to age.

The office didn't respond to questions from The Associated Press and did not provide any further information on the tweet. Tweet included an image of the film’s poster with Buzz Lightyear's profile image and a red "no” symbol.

The UAE is a federation seven sheikhdoms located on the Arabian Peninsula that has already posted show times for the film at its movie theaters. Conservative Emiratis were captivated by a social media campaign that featured the Arabic hashtag "Ban Showing Lightyear In the Emirates". They said that showing a lesbian couple onscreen was against their culture or religion.

Actor Chris Evans plays the role of Buzz Lightyear, the action figure from "Toy Story", while actress Uzo Adu voices the female character, kissing her female companion.

Many countries in the Middle East, including the UAE, have similar laws against same-sex relationships. According to the U.S. State Department, the Shariah law in UAE could include the death penalty for same sex conduct. Abu Dhabi, however, can only impose a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

But, these cases are rare and LGBTQ people do live in Dubai, a city-state dotted with skyscrapers. Dubai is home to long-haul carrier Emirates.

Analysts predict that the $200 million "Lightyear", which is set to gross over $100 million, will be a big draw for Disney.

In the past, studios have allowed censors in order to remove films from global distribution. This includes the Mideast market. Recent protests by activists and staff against Disney's slow response to criticisms of Florida legislation, which opponents called the "Don't Say Gay", have been held.

Florida Gov. The bill was signed by Ron DeSantis late March. It prohibits instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.

After Pixar employees protested Disney’s response to Florida’s bill, the moment was restored.

Malaysia may also ban the movie. The Star, the nation's leading English-language newspaper, reported that Lightyear would not be shown at Malaysian cinemas. There were no reasons. Similar speculations were made by a newspaper from Bahrain, a Persian Gulf island nation.

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