UAE bans Pixar's 'Lightyear' from cinemas due to 'women characters kissing'
The Gulf state, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced through its Media Regulatory Office of the country's ministry of youth and culture that the film would not be opening in the country this Thursday.
The Media Regulatory Office announced that the animated film Lightyear, which is scheduled for release on 16th June, is not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country’s media content standards. pic.twitter.com/f3iYwXqs1D— مكتب تنظيم الإعلام (@uaemro) June 13, 2022
"[It] is not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country's media content standards," the office said in a tweet. "The office confirms that all films screened in cinemas across the country are subject to follow-up and evaluation before the date of screening to the public, to ensure the safety of the circulated content 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 film's poster, with the profile image of its main character Buzz Lightyear with a "no" symbol over it in red. Movie theatres in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, had already advertised showtimes for the film.
The movie, with actor Chris Evans voicing the inspiration for the Buzz Lightyear action figure from the 'Toy Story' films, reportedly includes a character voiced by actress Uzo Aduba kissing another woman with whom she's in a relationship.
The UAE, like much of the wider Middle East, is a Muslim-led nation that criminalises same-sex relationships.
The US State Department warns that Islamic, or Shariah, law can include the death penalty for same-sex conduct, while Dubai can levy a 10-year prison sentence and Abu Dhabi allows for up to 14 years.
The $200 million 'Lightyear' is expected to be a major draw for Disney, with analysts estimating it could gross over $100 million in its first weekend.