Haaz Sleiman has praised Marvel for refusing to edit out the LGBTQ+ representation in Eternals after it was banned in certain countries.

Marvel’s latest blockbuster has been banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the Chloe Zhao-directed film will be not released in the aforementioned territories due to the inclusion of Marvel’s first-ever gay superhero Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry).

Eternals also features Marvel’s first big screen queer couple and in one scene, Phastos reportedly shares a “passionate kiss” with his husband Jack (Sleiman).

THR states that a number of “edits” were requested from cinema chains in the Gulf regions to Disney, who were not willing to comply.

Homosexuality is still criminalised in many Middle Eastern regions and is even punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In 2020, a single line referencing a lesbian relationship in Pixar’s Onward resulted in the title being banned in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman.

Sleiman has spoken out about the ban, stating that he has “no respect” for the governments implementing them.

“They stood their ground and said, ‘Nope, we are not going to compromise the integrity of our film,’” Sleiman told Variety. “It made these Arab countries [look] so ignorant and pathetic.”


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He added: “I have no respect for those governments. They have displayed to the world that they are not only a disgrace to humanity, but to God.

“Hopefully, this will inspire the Saudi people, the Kuwaiti people and the people in Qatar to fight back.”

Angelina Jolie, who appears in the movie as Thena, expressed a similar sentiment in a recent interview with Australian outlet news.com.au.

“I’m sad for [those audiences],” said the Shark Tale star. “And I’m proud of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out.

“I still don’t understand how we live in a world today where there’s still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love.

“How anybody is angry about it, threatened by it, doesn’t approve or appreciate it is ignorant.”

Despite the movie’s backlash, it is still scheduled for an 11 November release in the United Arab Emirates.

Eternals is out now.