Steven Spielberg Film Banned in Middle East Countries over LGBTQ Character
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refused to grant the movie a release certificate
Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries due to the inclusion of actor Iris Mena, who identifies as “nonbinary,” playing an LGBTQ character.
Menas was born female but now identifies as nonbinary, was cast for the LGBTQ character named “Anybodys” which Spielberg added to his version of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical.
But censors in several countries where homosexuality is illegal are not happy with the character.
Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refused to grant the movie a release certificate, effectively banning it from cinemas.
Saudi officials have not specified whether Anybodys character is the reason for their action, but it's widely believed it is.
The film will premiere in several other Middle Eastern countries, but censors have demanded edits.
As Breitbart reported:
Censors in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly asked for cuts to the film.
However, the studio has said it will not make the requested cuts, possibly putting the release of the movie in doubt in those countries.
Homosexuality is officially illegal in Saudi Arabia. Gay characters have often caused films to be blocked from release there.
Saudi officials, for instance, blocked the release of Disney’s recent Marvel superhero flick Eternals, which featured the studio’s first gay superhero and a gay kissing scene.
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Star Angelina Jolie said that blocking the film from being released was “ignorant" of the Saudis.
“I’m sad for [those audiences]."
"And I’m proud of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out,” Jolie said last month.
“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.”