Disney is refusing to cut this LGBTQ+ scene in Saudi Arabia

Disney is refusing to cut this LGBTQ+ scene in Saudi Arabia
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness banned in Saudi Arabia, Egypt ...

Saudi Arabia has asked Disney to cut LGBTQ+ scenes from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before it is screened in the country - to which Disney has refused.

On Monday, Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification confirmed to The Guardian that they had requested Disney remove a specific scene from the Doctor Strange sequel but denied they would ban the movie in its entirety.

The scene in question is one where America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez), a lesbian character, refers to her two moms. The scene is roughly 12 seconds long.

“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms,” Alsabhan said. “And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this."

Disney has refused to make the edits Saudi Arabia requested which Alsabhan confirmed, "We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.”

In Saudi Arabia, same-sex relationships and transgender people are criminalized, maximum sentencing can include the death penalty.

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Xochitl Gomez who plays America Chavez in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'Getty Images

It is unclear what Saudi Arabia will do since the long-awaited follow-up to Doctor Strange is highly anticipated, however, Alsabhan confirmed they have no intention of banning the film.

“It will never be banned,” Alsabhan told Agence France-Presse. “There’s no reason to ban the film. It’s a simple edit ... So far they have refused. But we haven’t closed the door. We’re still trying.”

Alsabhan's statement conflicts with recent reports from The Hollywood Reporter that claim the movie had already been banned in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

This would not be the first time Saudi Arabia has asked Disney to make edits excluding characters in the LGBTQ+ community.

Back in November, The Hollywood Reporterreported that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait discretely bannedThe Eternals from screening in the country due to the inclusion of a same-sex couple in the film.

The Eternals featured the first gay superhero, which many homophobic people found problematic.

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