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'Lightyear' animated film banned in UAE for 'content violation'

Published Jun 14, 2022 9:40 am

Disney's animated movie Lightyear has been banned from cinemas in the United Arab Emirates, officials said Monday (June 13) without giving details.

The film was banned for its "violation of the country's media content standards", the UAE's Media Regulatory Office tweeted, with a picture of the main character Buzz Lighytear covered by a 'No' symbol -- a red circle with a diagonal stripe through it.

While the violation in question was not specified, it comes amid reports that the film includes a same-sex kiss. According to reports, the same-sex kiss was edited out but then reinstated following complaints from staff at the Disney-owned Pixar animation studio.

"The Media Regulatory Office announced that the animated film Lightyear, which is scheduled for release on June 16, 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 tweeted.

The office did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.

The Lightyear ban ban comes just six months after the UAE said it would stop censoring cinematic releases and announced a 21-plus age rating for films it classifies for mature audiences.

The UAE is considered one of the more liberal countries in the Gulf region, where films with adult content are routinely cut or edited. 

In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the body that vets films declined to comment about whether Lightyear would be shown.

Employees at two main cinema companies, AMC and VOX, told AFP the film did not appear in their upcoming attractions.

In April, Saudi Arabia requested cuts to "LGBTQ references" in Disney's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", which was ultimately not screened in the country. (AFP)