United Arab Emirates bans Pixar’s new Buzz Lightyear film from theaters


Tim Allen and Tom Hanks voice Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody in Pixar’s “Toy Story.”


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Disney Pixar’s animated film “Lightyear” hits theaters this week and is anticipated to attract enthusiastic “Toy Story” followers from various international locations world wide.  

Not within the United Arab Emirates, although. 

The UAE’s Media Regulatory Workplace introduced Monday it might ban the film’s launch, based mostly on what it mentioned was “violation of the nation’s media content material requirements,” the workplace wrote in a tweet. The function movie was scheduled for launch in UAE theaters on Thursday.

The federal government physique did not specify in its tweet which a part of “Lightyear” violated its content material requirements, however Govt Director Rashid Khalfan Al Nuaimi advised Reuters it was based mostly on the the inclusion of gay characters. The film contains a same-sex relationship and temporary kiss.

The choice obtained combined reactions on-line, with some Twitter customers praising the transfer.

“Thanks a lot for saving our kids,” one person, whose bio contained UAE flags, mentioned in response to the tweet.

Others criticized the ban, with one person writing, “A rustic nonetheless dwelling within the 1300s.” 

As of late Tuesday in Dubai, “Lightyear” was nonetheless marketed as premiering on Thursday on the UAE’s Vox Cinemas web site. Disney didn’t instantly return request for remark from CNBC.

An inflatable Disney+ emblem is pictured at a press occasion forward of launching a streaming service within the Center East and North Africa, at Dubai Opera in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 7, 2022.

Yousef Saba | Reuter

Homosexuality is criminalized within the UAE, in addition to the remainder of the Gulf international locations and the vast majority of the Muslim world. In line with leisure information web site Deadline Hollywood, “Lightyear” will not be enjoying in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt or Indonesia — the latter being essentially the most populous Muslim nation on this planet with 274 million folks. 

It additionally will not be enjoying in Malaysia, based on a tweet by the nation’s main movie show chain GSC, which posted a photograph of Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear character and the phrases, “No past” — a reference to the character’s catchphrase, “to infinity and past.”

The UAE ban comes regardless of an announcement final 12 months that the nation would not censor films. That change was a part of a broader raft of modernizing reforms together with the decriminalization of premarital intercourse and a shift from the Islamic weekend (Friday-Saturday) to the Saturday-Sunday weekend, in a push to be extra aggressive globally and entice extra overseas funding and expertise. 

Girl sunbathers sit alongside a seashore within the Gulf emirate of Dubai on July 24, 2020, whereas behind is seen the Burj al-Arab resort.

KARIM SAHIB | AFP by way of Getty Pictures

For years the UAE has forged itself as a contemporary, tolerant haven in an in any other case extremely conservative area. The oil-rich desert sheikhdom is house to a 90% expat inhabitants, and permits consuming alcohol, carrying bikinis on public seashores, and different cultural parts typically forbidden in Muslim international locations.

Its nightclubs resemble these in Europe, it often hosts live shows of well-known rappers and pop stars, and it even relaxed the penalties on a few of its drug legal guidelines final 12 months. In 2016, it established a Ministry of Tolerance.

Homosexuality, nonetheless, stays taboo within the nation. When the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, revealed an Instagram publish that includes a rainbow and expressing its assist for the LGBTQ+ group, it was met with backlash from customers inside the nation.

This is not the primary time the U.S. Embassy has celebrated LGBTQ+ rights within the UAE. Final 12 months, it raised the Delight flag on its premises, marking the primary time any diplomatic mission has flown a homosexual satisfaction flag within the religiously conservative Arab Gulf. The British Embassy additionally raised a Delight flag final 12 months.


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