The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday banned the screening of Pixar’s animated film Lightyear, which features a scene where two lesbian characters kiss, sparking a surge of criticism in the country.
The move was announced by the UAE’s Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Media Regulatory Office, which said in a statement on Twitter that the film will not be screened in the country because of its “violation of the country’s media content standards.”
The statement, which noted that Lightyear is “not licensed for public screening,” was followed by a photograph of the film’s poster with the “banned” symbol superimposed on it.
The animated film, scheduled for release on June 16, sparked anger on UAE social media, with users calling for a ban on the film, which they said violated the religious and moral values that prevail in the Muslim-majority country.
Following this move, the Media Regulatory Office stressed the need for all cinemas in the country to conduct “follow-up and evaluation” of films before they are released to “ensure the safety of the circulated content according to the appropriate age classification.”
Lightyear has not only generated controversy in the Emirates, but also in other Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
However, Emirates already faced a similar dilemma last December, when the movie Eternals was released, which it decided not to ban despite including scenes with homosexual characters.
The measure it took then was to classify it “for audiences aged over 21,” according to a statement.