Same Sex Kiss in Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ Leads to Ban in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and More

The brief same-sex kiss scene involves Buzz Lightyear’s space ranger partner, a character named Alisha voiced by 'Orange Is the New Black’ star Uzo Aduba.

The World Premiere of Disney and Pixar's feature film "Lightyear" at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California

Image via Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez

The World Premiere of Disney and Pixar's feature film "Lightyear" at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California

While many families will be enjoying the premiere of Pixar’s Toy Story spinoff Lightyear on June 17, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will not be taking part in Disney’s latest film.

Per Variety, the movie will not play in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Kuwait, among other West Asia territories, because of a brief same-sex kiss scene involving Buzz Lightyear’s partner, a space ranger named Alisha who is voiced by Orange Is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba.  

Disney initially cut the scene in question but added it back into the film after Pixar animators said in an open letter that the company’s CEO Bob Chapek was attempting to censor “overtly gay affection,” and criticized his handling of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Lightyear was reportedly never submitted to censors in Saudi Arabia because Pixar was aware it wouldn’t pass. The Toy Story spinoff was initially approved for release in the United Arab Emirates, but was swiftly banned after critics on social media found the film to be insulting to Islam and Muslims.

Saudi Arabia has recently banned numerous Disney films from showing within the country, including Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to the inclusion of gay characters. They also banned West Side Story and Marvel’s Eternals because the former featured a transgender character, while the latter included a same-sex relationship. Malaysia also banned Lightyear, with the country’s censorship provision LPF writing that the film depicted themes, dialogue or scenes involving “homosexual or unnatural sex.”

Billed as the “definitive origin story” of Buzz Lightyear, the movie hits U.S. theaters on Friday and features the voice talents of Chris Evans in the role of Buzz as well as Aduba, Peter Sohn, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, James Brolin, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Efren Ramirez, Dale Soules, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Check out the trailer for Lightyear below.

View this video on YouTube

Latest in Pop Culture