This weekend saw the much-anticipated release of Alien: Covenant in China, but one sequence was noticeably absent from the Ridley Scott film.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the latest film in the Alien franchise, but Chinese censors allegedly removed a gay kiss between two of the film’s characters, both played by Michael Fassbender.
Fassbender plays the androids Walter and David in Alien: Covenant. At one point in the film, shortly after the crew of the eponymous spacecraft the Covenant find David marooned on a distant planet, the two characters share a brief kiss. However, the moment does not appear in the Chinese cut of the film.
Altogether, around 6 minutes of action was cut by Chinese censors – most of the cuts containing the film’s more graphic scenes of violence.
One Chinese filmgoer, Yu, told The Hollywood Reporter that the cut of the gay kiss is more jarring than the removal of the gory scenes. “For the other missing parts, you don’t notice or know when it happens,” she said, “but you can really feel something is missing where the gay kiss is supposed to be.”
Another viewer took to Twitter to write “Reading that David and Walter kiss in Alien Covenant? Just saw it in Beijing & saw no such peck. Among the alleged 6 minutes cut for China?”
Chinese censors have a somewhat inconsistent history on the censorship of gay content. Brokeback Mountain was denied a release in the country, and The Hollywood Reporter notes that gay content is often blocked from streaming services. However, the high-profile ‘gay moment’ from this year’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast remained intact in its Chinese release.