“Buzz Lightyear” and its kiss between two women banned in a dozen countries



The latest animated film from Pixar studios, Buzz Lightningwhich contains a fleeting kissing scene between two women living together, has not been granted an operating visa in 14 countries and territories in the Middle East and Asia, we learned on Tuesday June 15 from a source having had access to the file.

According to this source, the list of these countries, which are overwhelmingly Muslim, is as follows: Malaysia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

Buzz Lightning traces the birth of the intrepid astronaut made famous by the saga Toy Story. In the film, Buzz and his fellow space rangers, including his leader and best friend Alisha Hawthorne, crash land on a hostile planet.

A kiss originally cut

At one point in the film, Alisha’s character can be seen briefly kissing her wife, a scene that was originally cut by Disney subsidiary Pixar Studios. But Pixar and Disney employees rose up, criticizing the attitude of the world’s number one entertainment company, accused of not committing to defending the rights of LGBTQ + people.

The controversy was reignited after the adoption in Florida of a controversial law prohibiting teaching on sexual orientation in public schools. Bob Chapek, the CEO of the company which employs more than 75,000 people at its Disney World theme park in Orlando, in the southeastern state of the United States, had found himself in turmoil after he said he hesitated to oppose this law. Under pressure, he had finally publicly denounced her. According to specialized Hollywood media, it was following this controversy that the kissing scene was reinserted into Buzz Lightning. She now appears in all versions of the film, regardless of the country of destination.

“A touching moment”

The film’s producer, Galyn Susman, broached the subject in early April when presenting the film to the press. “Being able to deliver that kiss was important to us. It’s a touching moment.” having a great significance in the plot because it allows Buzz to realize that, unlike his friend, he does not have a loved one or a child, she had explained. But the producer had insisted that “we always had the lesbian couple” trained by Alisha and her wife, which they had despite the initial cut “always part of the movie”.

The United Arab Emirates Media Regulatory Office had announced the ban on the animated film on Monday “due to a violation of the media content standards in force in the country”. The authorities did not specify how Buzz Lightning violated these standards or whether the scene of the kiss between two women was specifically at issue. Posters of the film were already plastered in the streets of the emirate of Dubai, which belongs to the Emirates.

The wealthy Gulf state has a Ministry of Tolerance. It is relatively liberal compared to its neighbors but remains governed by many restrictions on political and social issues. Censorship is a widespread practice in the Arab world, especially in the very conservative Gulf region. Films that contain scenes considered to be injurious to morals are often cut or even completely banned.

A sensitive kiss

Buzz Lightning Nor should it be screened in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian country with an overwhelmingly Muslim population. “We suggested the owners of the film consider their audience in Indonesia, where a kiss between LGBT people is still considered sensitive,” said Rommy Fibri Hardiyanto, head of the censorship commission placed under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The film is not strictly speaking banned in Indonesia, but the authorities say they are still waiting for the ” definitive version “ requested from Disney, especially with the subtitles. “The ball is in their court”said Rommy Fibri Hardiyanto.

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