Disney Film ‘Onward’ Banned in Middle East Markets over Reference to a Lesbian Relationship

Disney Pixar
Disney Pixar

Disney’s new animated film Onward has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries due to the film’s reference to a lesbian relationship.

The film features a pair of elfin brothers who go on a road trip in a quest to find magic, but in one scene the heroes meet a character that makes a passing reference to a lesbian relationship between two minor characters.

In the scene that apparently offended Muslim censors, the lead characters, voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, are speaking to a pair of female police officers, and one of them, voiced by Lena Waithe, casually mentions that her girlfriend’s daughter “got me pulling my hair out.”

The officer, named Specter, has been hailed as Disney’s first openly homosexual animated character.

Indeed, Waithe, who was picked to voice the character is herself openly gay.

“It just kind of happened,” the film’s producer, Kori Rae said attempting to belie the idea that the character was planned. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting, and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”

The scene has brought condemnation from a group of Muslim countries including, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. But not all countries in the region have banned the film. Bahrain, Lebanon, and Egypt, for instance, have agreed to show the Disney feature.

Another country, Russia, has agreed to show the film, but only if the word “girlfriend” is overdubbed with the word “partner.”

Onward debuted in the U.S. on March 5.

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