Saudi Arabia has asked Disney to remove “LGBTQ references” from Doctor Strange – In the Multiverse of Madness before the film is released in the Arab country.
The guardian The sequel to Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, will premiere worldwide next week, but the Saudis will cut 12 seconds from the film. They don’t want to see the role in the movie when a lesbian character, America Chavez, played by Zochitel Gomez, suggests she has “two nations.”
A spokesman for Navaf Al-Sabhan, a Saudi organization that makes a decision on the classification of films, said he had asked Disney to cut the part in question, but stressed that they would not ban the film.
And the Hollywood Reporter wrote, on Friday, that the film was banned in Kuwait, according to unconfirmed news. Advance tickets have also been withdrawn in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, but not in the United Arab Emirates.
This is not the first time that Saudi authorities have confronted a Marvel movie. In November, they had objections to the movie Eternal, which depicts a gay couple. Disney still refused to censor, so the film was not shown there.
Saudi Arabia lifted its decades-old ban on cinema screenings in late 2017, which was also part of social reforms initiated by the heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at rejuvenating the deeply conservative kingdom. In 2021, movie tickets were sold in the country for a total of $238 million, up 95 percent from the previous year, Variety wrote in January.
Homosexuality is considered a major sin in Saudi Arabia, which is known for its strict interpretation of the laws of Islamic law upon which justice is based.
Disney’s stance on LGBT rights has also sparked controversy in one US state. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a law that would repeal legislation that allowed Disney to operate as a semi-local government in Orlando, home of Disney World, for decades.
The move is the latest episode in discussion with Florida authorities after the company criticized the passage of a law banning school lessons about sexual orientation in March.
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