The upcoming Pixar cartoon Lightyear has been banned from screening in movie theaters because it features a kiss between two lesbian characters. The ban was announced on Monday. Malaysia will also ban the film. It is expected that other Muslim majority nations will follow suit despite the fact that Lightyear is one of Disney’s biggest animated films.
The announcement was made through its Media Regulator Office. The film “is not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country’s media content standards,” the office said in a tweet. “The office confirms that all films screened in cinemas across the country are subject to follow-up and evaluation before the date of screening to the public, to ensure the safety of the circulated content according to the appropriate age classification.”
The office did not explain the tweet any further nor did it respond to questions from the Associated Press. In fact the UAE had already advertised showtimes for the film earlier. However over the weekend, a social media campaign with the Arabic hashtag “Ban Showing Lightyear in the Emirates” started trending. The social media post described lesbianism as being against their culture and religion.
The movie features the voice of Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. The female character in the animation is played by Uzo Aduba who kisses her female partner.
The UAE, like many other countries in the wider Mideast, is a Muslim-led nation that criminalizes same-sex relationships. Shariah, law in the UAE can include the death penalty for same-sex conduct, while Dubai can levy a 10-year prison sentence and Abu Dhabi allows for up to 14 years.
The $200 million Lightyear is expected to be a major draw for Disney, with analysts estimating it could gross over $100 million in its first weekend.