‘Lightyear’ Faces Bans Ahead of Disney+ Release

by Tia Bailey

The “Toy Story” spinoff movie “Lightyear” has been controversial with some audiences. Now that the film has made its way to Disney+, it faces bans in certain areas.

“Lightyear,” starring Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear, was released this past June to theaters. Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) briefly kisses her same-sex partner in the film. Some people took this as offensive, and some countries have even banned the movie.

According to popculture, the kiss “led to the theatrical release in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Middle East countries being canceled.” Disney+ Middle East will not have the film on the streaming site, as well as “Baymax.” The “Big Hero 6” series also features a LGBTQIA+ character, which is the reason for both of the titles being banned. However, other films with similar content aren’t banned because they are “for adults.”

The United Arab Emirates’ cinema standards make it so that same-sex content is banned. When “Eternals” was released in UAE, Disney had agreed to edit out the LGBTQIA+ affection from the film, which was the last time Disney had agreed to edit out content of that nature.

The same-sex kiss scene was almost not put in “Lightyear” — it was actually briefly cut out of the movie. However, it was put back in because of Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Chapek publicly opposed Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, which prohibited classroom instruction on sexual orientation and sexual identity for children from kindergarten to third grade.

“Lightyear” Faces Streaming Bans After Exiting Theaters

Evans supported this move. He spoke to Variety about it, saying: “”It’s nice, and it’s wonderful, it makes me happy. It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion. That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is. That representation across the board is how we make films.”

Fans and viewers of the movie had a lot to say about the kiss. One fan took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the bans, saying: “Watched Buzz Lightyear on Disney+. I still dont understand the basis of the ban in Malaysia. There are LOTS MORE kids content that highlights sensitive issues considered and kids watch them daily, millions of times. Ok je? it all goes back to how we parent our kids in my POV.”

A Disney representative told the Hollywood Reporter that while the streaming service usually has parental controls to decide what is appropriate for children, this film will not feature that.

“Lightyear” is available to stream on Disney+ in the US now.