On Monday, an official of Saudi Arabia said that Saudi Arabia had asked Disney to cut “LGBTQ references” from Doctor Strange 2 before it could be screened in the kingdom.
Disney has declined the requested edits to the Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, slated for release around the world next week. According to Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, the cuts amount to “barely 12 seconds,” in which a lesbian character, America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, refers to her “two moms.”
“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms,” Alsabhan said. “And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this.”
He added: “We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.”
The movie had been banned outright, Alsabhan disputed reports said.
“It will never be banned,” he told Agence France-Presse. “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.”
The Hollywood Reporter said there were unconfirmed reports that the film had also been banned in Kuwait on Friday. Advance tickets had been removed from sale in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia but not in the UAE.