Disney’s new movie “Lightyear,” an offshoot of the “Toy Story” franchise, faces bans or restrictions in parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East over a scene that features a kiss between two women. The animated film opens around the world this week.
The United Arab Emirates has banned “Lightyear” from public screenings, and Malaysia has asked Disney to cut several scenes from the film before it can be shown in local cinemas, according to officials in the Muslim-majority countries.
In Indonesia, the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population, the chairman of the Film Censorship Board told The New York Times on Wednesday that the kissing scene could potentially violate a law that prohibits movies that show “deviant sexual behavior.”
“The Film Censorship Board doesn’t want to be drawn into the vortex of debate over pro L.G.B.T. versus anti-L.G.B.T.,” said the chairman, Rommy Fibri. “But that kissing scene is sensitive.”
Disney did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
The international backlash against “Lightyear” is a fresh public relations headache for Disney, whose growing willingness to publicly defend L.G.B.T.Q. people has made it a somewhat unlikely cultural lightning rod in the United States.
Disney has described “Lightyear,” which was created by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Angus MacLane, as the “definitive origin story” of the character Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger who starred in the 1995 film “Toy Story” and several sequels.
“Lightyear” focuses on the friendship between Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans) and another space ranger, Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba). Alisha marries a woman, and in one scene she greets her wife with a kiss.
Disney’s chief executive, Bob Chapek, came under intense pressure earlier this year from many of the company’s employees to take a forceful stand against anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation that was moving through the legislature in Florida, which is home to the…
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