Entertainment Movies Chris Evans blasts ‘idiots’ over 14 nations’ Lightyear ban
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Chris Evans blasts ‘idiots’ over 14 nations’ Lightyear ban

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Disney’s upcoming flick Lightyear has been banned in 14 nations amid objections to its depiction of a same-sex relationship.

The United Arab Emirates was the first to move, banning the animated Pixar feature earlier this week – reportedly because it includes a kiss between two female characters.

The UAE has since been followed by other majority-Muslim countries or territories – Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria – the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Actor Chris Evans, who is the voice behind space ranger Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story spinoff, took aim at the bans.

“The real truth is those people are idiots,” he told Reuters.

“Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good.

“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before.”

The UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced through its Media Regulatory Office of the country’s Ministry of Youth and Culture that the film would not open in the country as scheduled this week.

Lightyear was “not licensed for public screening in all cinemas in the UAE, due to its violation of the country’s media content standards”, the office said in a tweet.

“The office confirms that all films screened in cinemas across the country are subject to follow-up and evaluation before the date of screening to the public, to ensure the safety of the circulated content according to the appropriate age classification.”

The tweet included an image of the film’s poster, with the profile image of its main character Buzz Lightyear with a “no” symbol over it in red.

The announcement came after a social media campaign calling for the film’s ban in the UAE was taken up by conservative residents.

It also followed advertising of screening times by cinemas in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

Disney, which owns Pixar, told the WSJ this week it had refused to edit the film to remove scenes. One scene includes Buzz’s best friend Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) kissing her wife.

The ban might have further ripples for Disney, which is due to launch its streaming service in several nations within months. It is not clear if Lightyear will be available on Disney+ in those markets.

The film also appears unlikely to open in China, Reuters reported.

Lightyear opened in Australian cinemas on Thursday and will be released in the US on Friday.

-with agencies