The new Pixar movie “Lightyear” is generating so much controversy in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries that they have outright banned the film. Here’s what you need to know.
Why is “Lightyear” being banned in 14 countries?
Pixar’s “Lightyear” is being banned in 14 countries in the Middle East and Asia because in the film, the character Alisha Hawthorne is in a relationship with a woman. They also share a brief, same-sex kiss.
Was the controversial scene always in “Lightyear?”
In 2006, executives at Disney, Pixar’s parent company, initially asked to cut the scenes from the film.
But once the executives’ decision was revealed in March, hundreds of Disney employees signed an open letter urging the company to take a firmer stance in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
The workers criticized the scene censorship and demanded that the company denounce Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” law, also known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The law, which Republicans in the legislature proposed, prohibits class discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation until students are at least nine years old.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek responded to the backlash among employees by promising to put back the same-sex scene and relationship into “Lightyear.”
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” actor Chris Evans, who voices the character of Buzz Lightyear, told Variety magazine. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”
What were some of the 14 countries who banned “Lightyear?”
The decision to include the same-sex relationship didn’t come without consequences for Disney/Pixar, as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Malaysia, Kuwait and Indonesia have already banned the film.
According to Reuters, China is not likely to screen the film either because it censors nearly all homosexuality in movies and television programs.
Chinese authorities asked that Disney cut the same-sex kiss from the movie, but Disney refused after employee pushback.
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