Animation studio, Pixar, recently dropped their newest film, a charming flick called Onward.
Pixar has stolen hearts across the globe for years with its quirky, thoughtful animations. Many of the studio’s shorts have given us the feels time and time again.
This time, a number of countries are having feelings of a different kind.
BBC reports that Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all chosen to ban Onward after it became clear that the family film features a gay character.
Check out the wholesome trailer for some context:
Lena Waithe voices Pixar’s first-ever openly gay character in Onward, a police officer named Specter.
If you’re wondering what set the bigots off, it’s this one line spoken by Waithe in the film: “It’s not easy being a parent… my girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, OK?”
Other parts of the middle-east seem to have taken a more tolerant stance to the film; Bahrain, Lebanon, and Egypt are happy to let Onward be shown countrywide, while Russia has taken the censorship route and removed the line from the film. Authorities chose to swap the gendered “girlfriend” in Waithe’s line with “partner” and also omitted mention of Specter’s gender altogether.
That seems like a lot of effort on the part of the homophobic countries that can’t deal with the objective reality that queer people exist.
Despite the backlash from a selection of countries, Onward saw major success at the box office the weekend raking in $40 million (over R600 million).
Specter’s contentious line in the film was part of Waithe’s contribution to the script.
“I said, ‘Can I say the word girlfriend, is that cool?'” Waithe explained, “I was just like, ‘It sounds weird.’ I even have a gay voice, I think. I don’t think I sound right saying ‘Husband.’ They were like, ‘Oh yeah, do that.’ They were so cool and chilled. And it ended up being something special.”
Onward, set in a mystical fantasy world, tells the story of two elf brothers (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) in their teens who go on an exciting adventure, prompted by gifts from their late father. Specter is the mum of the two boys and helps send them on their way.
This isn’t the first time conservative countries have lost their minds over gay representation in modern cinema. Scenes from Rocketman and Avengers: Endgame suffered censorship in Russia last year, while Beauty and the Beast was straight-up banned in a handful of places, including Kuwait and Malaysia.
Even though Onward saw similar backlash, experts have happily reported that the coronavirus outbreak has not affected the sales of tickets to the exciting new Pixar flick.
Take your kids and book your tickets immediately.
Don’t let the bastards get you down.
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