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Disney/Pixar's Onward Is Getting Banned in Multiple Countries

Disney/Pixar's 'Onward' Is Getting Banned in Multiple Countries

Disney/Pixar's 'Onward' Is Getting Banned in Multiple Countries

Different film markets from all over the world are taking issue with the movie's lesbian character, played by Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

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Despite making history as Disney/Pixar's first film to feature a self-identifying LGBTQ+ character, it looks like Onward isn't being very welcomed in some countries in different parts of the world. 

According to a report by Deadline, multiple Middle Eastern markets—specifically Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia—have effectively banned the film from theaters because of a brief scene where a one-eyed cyclops cop named Specter (voiced by openly-queer, Emmy-winning actor/writer Lena Waithe) discusses being in a relationship with her girlfriend and raising a child. 

Deadline also notes that other Middle Eastern countries like Bahrain, Lebanon, and Egypt are showing the film, and while they didn't place an outright ban on the entire movie, Russian cinemas censored out the word "girlfriend," changing it to "partner."

What's frustrating about the ban is that despite it being celebrated as Disney's first movie to feature an explicitly queer character, it's still a very brief, unsatisfying, blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. As The Advocate's Neal Broverman points out, "Waithe's character never reappears and serves little purpose in the grand scheme of Onward, which like many Disney movies, centers on a child longing for a departed parent. I was slightly disappointed that the lesbian (or bi?) cop was such a throwaway character—and that Waithe didn't have more to do." If a small, throwaway scene is enough to get a whole film banned in some foreign film markets, what does that say about the state of worldwide LGBTQ+ visibility?

Unfortunately, it means we still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance. (But I guess the only thing we can really do, for now, is to keep moving forward, errr...onward??) 

Onward is now playing in theaters. Watch the official trailer in the video below.

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel