Lightyear: Chris Evans ‘frustrated’ same-sex kiss in Disney’s ‘Lightyear’ has it banned from 14 countries

Disney’s upcoming film ‘Lightyear’ has stoked the flames of conflict around LGBTQ+ rights globally.

The highly-anticipated prequel to the ‘Toy Story’ saga, which features a same-sex kiss, has been banned across 14 predominantly Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

However, several other nations have also denied its release. Film producers speculate that China could join this list as a country that has strictly censored same-sex content in recent years.

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Galyn Susman, one of the film’s producers, said Disney will deny any requests for changes to the film.

Disney Pixar's 'Lightyear' set to hit screens June 17th despite global backlash about film's same-sex kiss.Disney Pixar's 'Lightyear' set to hit screens June 17th despite global backlash about film's same-sex kiss.
Disney Pixar's 'Lightyear' set to hit screens June 17th despite global backlash about film's same-sex kiss.

However, the brief kiss between characters Alisha Hawthorne and Kiko was originally cut by Disney, before reinstating it after Pixar animators voiced their complaints. As a result, it simply won’t hit screens in these countries.

In response, the movie star Chris Evans who voices Buzz (a legendary space ranger and Lightyear’s main character) commented: “It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion.”

What is the ‘controversial content’ in Lightyear? Same-sex kiss scene explained

The scene takes place early during the movie. Space Ranger Alisha Hawthorne, Buzz’s Starfleet commander and best friend, is in a romantic relationship with Kiko, one of her science officers.

As it’s their anniversary, they briefly share an onscreen kiss as they unite. This means Lightyear has made history by including the first same-sex kiss in a Pixar release.

In March 2022, however, Variety reported that “a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film.”

Why has Lightyear been banned across the world?

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Several Asian and Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Qatar (this year’s host for the Fifa World Cup), will not show Lightyear in cinemas.

The United Arab Emirates, as one example, stated that the movie was banned for being in violation of their country’s media content standards.

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However, it runs deeper than this. The United Arab Emirates officially considers same-sex relations as criminal and they are punishable by extensive jail time or fines.

The UAE constitution references no protection from gender or sexuality-based discrimination.

‘Frustrated’ Chris Evans expresses his disappointment with the global bans

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” Evans stated. “Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good.”

His strong sentiment is understood by co-star Taiki Waitita who plays the role of Mo Morrison in Lightyear, adding: “You know, we’re hoping for a time when we don’t even have to have this conversation, where we can watch a movie and we don’t even have to bat an eyelid.

"We don’t have to think, oh wow, weird. It’s not weird.”

For now, Lightyear’s future as a worldwide box office hit is unclear.

However, this censorship will no doubt impose a substantial loss to its global take.

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For now, the conversation surrounding LGBTQ+ rights, international relations, and the consistency of Disney’s actions, remains a hot topic on the global stage.

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