Disney has removed a lesbian kiss from their latest installment of the Star Wars series, The Rise of Skywalker, in Singapore, bending to the country’s strict rules surrounding LGBT content.
Singapore’s media regulatory body confirmed earlier this week that Disney had removed the clip to keep their film a PG-13, meaning children under the age of 13 can attend but only in the company of an adult.
“The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the film classification guidelines would require a higher rating,” a spokesperson from Infocomm Media Development Authority said.
Under Singaporean censorship guidelines, films containing LGBT themes or content as a subplot can only be watched by those 18 aged and above, while films focusing solely on homosexuality may only be viewed by those over the age of 21.
Despite being one of Asia’s most important financial and cosmopolitan hubs, Singapore has restrictive laws on LGBT rights, with same-sex marriage illegal and sex between two men carrying a sentence of up to two years. However, there is no stated law about sexual activity between two women.
The scene has sparked debate among viewers with some applauding the move, while others have described it as unnecessary and a form of tokenism.
Director J.J. Abrams said in an interview with MovieZine last month that he wanted to include an LGBT scene “without it being heavy-handed or making too loud of a deal.”
“Part of the whole experience was to see a same-sex couple have a moment together that was explicitly saying in this galaxy, everyone is there and is welcome,” the film director said.
It is not the first time that Disney has used Star Wars to push progressive sexual content. In last year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, producers cast Rebel Alliance member Lando Calrissian as a pansexual character in a romantic relationship with a droid.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently showing at most theaters nationwide.