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A cinema in Oklahoma has withdrawn its threat to fast-forward a kiss between two female characters in the animated Disney/Pixar film Lightyear, a prequel to the Toy Story franchise. The 89er Theatre in Kingfisher, a small town 50 miles from Oklahoma City, had originally posted a sign warning parents of the offending scene.

The sign read: “Attention Parents: The management of this theatre discovered after booking ‘Lightyear’ that there is a same-sex kissing scene within the first 30 minutes of the Pixar movie. We will do all we can to fast-forward through that scene, but it might not be exact. We apologize for any inconvenience this late discovery of this scene causes.”

The kiss features Commander Alisha Hawthorne, who is voiced by Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba, and her wide Kiko. This is the first time there has a same-sex kiss in a Pixar film. Chris Evans, who voices the lead character Buzz Lightyear, welcomed the cinema’s change of heart, telling The Washington Post and Reuters:

“It’s an excellent sign of the times that things are moving in the right direction, but you can’t help but feel like there’s bitter aftertaste [when] acknowledging the fact it is even worthy of discussion.” 

Evans continued, “The real truth is, those people are idiots. 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.”

The scene, where Alisha and Kiko greet each other with a kiss on the lips, had originally been cut by Disney but was reinstated following protests by Pixar animators. Lightyear has been banned in Kuwait, the UAE and Malaysia following accusations that the film was an insult to Islam, while distributors did not submit the film to censors in Saudi Arabia, knowing that it would not be approved.

Saudi Arabia has refused to grant licences to Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness because of the inclusion of a gay character and  also to Marvel’s Eternals, which features a same-sex kiss. Marvel films fall under the Disney umbrella. Stephen Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story has also fallen victim to Saudi censorship over the musical’s inclusion of a transgender character.

The Malaysian authorities have a policy of clamping down on scenes involving “homosexual and unnatural sex” and recently banned Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and the Elton John biopic Rocket Man.

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