Disney is reportedly refusing Saudi Arabia’s request to cut “LGBTQ+ references” from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The scene in question lasts “barely 12 seconds” and sees America Chavez, a lesbian character played by Xochitl Gomez, mention her “two moms”, said Nawaf Alsabhan, the country’s general supervisor of cinema classification.
“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms,” he told The Guardian. “And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this.”
“We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing,” he added.
It was previously reported that the movie had been totally banned in the country because of the brief moment of LGBTQ+ representation, which Alsabhan vehemently denied.
“It will never be banned. 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,” he told the Agence France-Presse outlet.
In many Middle Eastern regions, homosexuality is still criminalised and is even punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Doctor Strange 2 is not the first time Disney and Marvel content has been banned because of featuring LGBTQ+ people.
Last November, the inclusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first-ever gay superhero, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), in Eternals resulted in the film being pulled in several countries.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled for release during the first week of May.
You can watch the trailer below or by clicking here.