Dubai, United Arab Emirates –
The United Arab Emirates on Monday banned the showing of upcoming Pixar animated film ‘Lightyear’ in cinemas amid reports the film features a kiss between two female characters.
The Emirates, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced through its media regulator at the country’s Ministry of Youth and Culture that the film will not be shown in the country this Thursday.
The film “is not approved for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE as it violates the country’s media content standards,” the bureau said in a tweet. “The Office confirms that all films released in cinemas across the country are subject to tracking and assessment prior to the date of public release to ensure the safety of the content circulated according to the appropriate age classification.”
The office did not elaborate on the tweet and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press. The tweet included an image of the movie poster with the profile picture of its main character, Buzz Lightyear, with a red “no” icon above it. Cinemas in the UAE, a coalition of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, had already announced showings for the film.
The film, in which actor Chris Evans voiced the inspiration for the Buzz Lightyear action figure from the Toy Story films, reportedly features a character voiced by actress Uzo Aduba kissing another woman with whom she is in a relationship.
The UAE, like much of the Middle East, is a Muslim-run nation that criminalizes same-sex relationships. The US State Department warns that Islamic or Sharia law can carry the death penalty for same-sex conduct, while Dubai can carry a 10-year prison sentence and Abu Dhabi up to 14 years in prison.
Such prosecutions are rarely reported, however, and LGBTQ people live in the skyscraper-dotted city-state of Dubai, home of long-haul airline Emirates.
The $200 million “Lightyear” is expected to be a big draw for Disney as analysts estimate it could gross over $100 million in its first weekend.
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