In the west, the idea of LGBT characters in mainstream fare has become a non-issue. Sure, there are still awkward moments like when Disney+ decided to push their new Love Simon TV series to Hulu because they fear a family-friendly show about a gay teen would be too scandalous. Now, it what seems like a turn of karmic irony, Disney finds themselves on the other side of the censor stick as Deadline is reporting that Pixar’s new film, Onward is being banned in several middle eastern countries over that exact issue.
In the new film, a minor reference is made to one of the characters being in a lesbian relationship. Here’s the scene description from Deadline:
In the scene, the two lead characters, voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, are disguised as their mother’s centaur boyfriend, Officer Bronco, and get into a conversation about parenting with two female police officers. The purple cyclops officer named Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe, commiserates with Officer Bronco and says. “It’s not easy being a new parent – my girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?”
Surprisingly, this little scene means that Specter is the very first openly-gay character in a Disney animated film (what about Lefeu???)
Either way, that little segment of the movie is all it took for Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to ban the film outright. Interestingly, the movie is still opening up in Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt. Russia didn’t ban the film, but they changed the dialogue from girlfriend to partner and they also don’t specifically refer to Specter’s gender.
Two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), go on a journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.