Disney and Pixar’s much anticipated animated film Lightyear has been banned in Malaysia and more than a dozen other countries due to a same-sex kiss, according to media reports on Tuesday (14 June).
The Toy Story spinoff had been scheduled to open in cinemas in Malaysia on Friday. The movie will also not be playing in other countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, according to Variety. Homosexuality is a crime in most of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Singapore will be releasing the film with an NC16 rating — no children under 16.
The offending scene reportedly involves a new lesbian space ranger Alisha and her partner starting a family together and greeting each other with a kiss on the lips. It was cut from the film by Disney but later reinstated after Pixar animators objected to the removal.
Variety reported that the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) had asked for edits to the film which Disney refused.
Apart from the gay scene, LPF reportedly said the screening of the film would negatively affect bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, without giving further details. Reuters reported that China had also asked for cuts to the movie but it did not specify the reasons.
At the movie's red-carpet premiere in London on Monday, producer Galyn Susman told Reuters, "We're not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he's missing by the choices that he's making, so that's not getting cut."
Actor Chris Evan, who voices the lead character Buzz Lightyear, said, "It's great that we are a part of something that's making steps forward in the social inclusion capacity, but it's frustrating that there are still places that aren't where they should be."