Emirates bans “Lightyear” which features a kiss between two women

The United Arab Emirates on Monday announced a ban on Pixar Studios’ animated film “Lightyear,” the first by the major American production company to feature a kissing scene between two people of the same sex.

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The wealthy Gulf state, which includes the Emirate of Dubai in particular and has a Ministry of Tolerance, is relatively liberal compared to its neighbors, but is still subject to numerous political and social restrictions.

“Animated film ‘Lightyear’, which is scheduled to hit theaters on June 16, has been banned from showing in any cinema in the UAE due to a breach of media content standards in place in the UAE country,” the media regulator said on Twitter With.

According to this body, which is dependent on the Ministry of Culture and Youth, all films are “subject to monitoring and assessment prior to the date of public screening to ensure that the content being broadcast is appropriate in terms of age rating”.

Reached by AFP, the ministry did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on the “norms” violated by “Lightyear,” but posters of the film were already hanging on the streets of Dubai.

This ban comes six months after the country announced that films showing in its theaters would no longer be censored, only classified by the age of the viewer, with a new category of works intended for those under 21 are forbidden.

Censorship is a widespread practice in the Arab world, particularly in the very conservative Gulf region. Films with scenes that are considered immoral are often shortened or even banned altogether.

In April, Saudi Arabia asked Disney to remove “LGBTQ references” from Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness so it could not be shown in cinemas in the ultra-conservative kingdom alongside the Emirates.

The Emirates have passed billed as liberal social reforms in recent years to attract more expats, as the country is made up of around 90% foreigners from all over the world.

Despite those reforms, the NGO Human Rights Watch last week accused the authorities of criminalizing “vague acts,” such as any conduct that “contradicts public decency and morals” or “incites a life of sin.”

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