entertainment

Disney is refusing to cut LGBTQ references from Dr Strange sequel for Saudi Arabia

Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, also denies that Saudi Arabia is banning the film altogether.

2022-04-27

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Disney

Disney is refusing to cut LGBTQ references from its upcoming Marvel flick, Doctor Strange: In The Multiverse of Madness as requested by Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

It had been previously reported that the film had been banned altogether in the Middle-Eastern kingdom.

Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, has denied this.

"Disney has told us they are not willing"

According to Alsabhan, the cuts requested by Saudi Arabia apply to "barely 12 seconds" where the lesbian character, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) references her "two mums". 

"It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms," Alsabhan has told Agence Frence Press, as reported by The Guardian

"And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this," he added. 

He also said, "We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing."

Denying earlier reports that the film was being banned altogether because of the LGBTQ content Alsabhan told AFP: "It will never be banned. There’s no reason to ban the film. It’s a simple edit ... So far they have refused. But we haven’t closed the door. We’re still trying."

A similar situation occurred with another of Marvel's releases last year. 

Eternals wasn't screened in Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf nations, after requests were made to cut out LGBTQ characters and Disney refused. 

Homosexuality is a capital offence in Saudi Arabia and can carry the death penalty. 

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