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'Lightyear': UAE bans animated film for 'content violation'

June 13, 2022

The Disney-Pixar film about Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear reportedly contains a scene including a same-sex kiss. The UAE prohibited public screening, citing an unspecified content violation.

This image shows character Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans, and Sox, voiced by Peter Sohn, in a scene from the animated film "Lightyear"
The film is centered around the Buzz Lightyear action figure character from the popular "Toy Story" franchise seriesImage: Disney/Pixar/AP Photo/picture alliance

"Lightyear," the animated movie based on the franchise series "Toy Story," has been banned from cinemas in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country's Media Regulatory Office announced Monday. 

The Disney-Pixar film about "Toy Story" character Buzz Lightyear reportedly contains a scene including a same-sex kiss. 

The film was banned for its "violation of the country's media content standards," the office said on Twitter, sharing a picture of the main character Buzz Lightyear covered by a "No" symbol. 

LGBTQ content ban

The Emirati government body did not state the specific violation of its content standards, but an Arabic hashtag "'Lightyear' banned in the Emirates," in posts complaining that the film contains portrayals of LGBTQ relationships, was trending on Twitter. 

The film, which is expected to be released later this week, reportedly includes a scene of two female characters kissing. 

The scene was initially taken out of the film, but later restored after complaints by Disney and Pixar employees, according to US media. 

Monday's announcement came just six months after the UAE said it would stop censoring films and instead use a 21+ age rating for content it classifies for mature audiences. 

The UAE is seen as more liberal than other countries in the region that typically censor or edit out scenes it deems controversial in films.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, recently banned the screening of Disney's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" due to its "LGBTQ references."

fb/wd (AFP, Reuters)