Vulture reports that Wilde addressed the situation after a screening of the film at SCAD Savannah Film Festival on Tuesday. She expressed her disappointment when she found out that Delta had used a third-party censor to edit out dialogue and entire scenes from the in-flight version of the film. Wilde remarked that the edits had a sexist bias: romantic scenes between two queer women had been cut, as well as some language.
“There are certain words and certain scenes that are cut out, that aren’t the swear words. It’s ‘fuck, fuck, fuck’ all day, but they removed the word ‘masturbation,’ they removed the word ‘vagina.’ So I’m just curious what a woman is supposed to take from that. That it’s an obscenity. That it’s inappropriate.”
Wilde also shared how upset she was that an entire queer love scene had been cut, explaining that she saw Delta’s version of the film, which had removed the hookup scene between two characters played by Diana Silvers and Kaitlyn Dever. She speculated they censored it “because it might suggest to you that women, I don’t know, have bodies or can experience pleasure, or deserve it. And so that is … it’s a problem. It’s a problem.”
Wilde initially found out about the censorship this weekend, when a Twitter user shared the news. The director inquired as to which airline had edited the film, and then found out it was not only Delta, but Etihad Airways and Emirates as well.
“There’s insane violence of bodies being ripped in half and yet a love scene between two women is censored from the film,” Wilde said at the Governors Awards on Monday. “It’s such an integral part of the character’s journey. My heart just broke. I don’t understand it. It’s confusing.”
Annapurna's Chief Content Officer, Sue Naegle, had this to say about the censorship. “We are deeply disappointed by the decision of Etihad Airways and others to remove a scene from Booksmart that features two female characters kissing. We are proud of the original cut and want to reaffirm our support for inclusive storytelling.