The Disney animated film Onward, which hit theaters in the United States this week, won’t be doing the same in some film markets in the Middle East. The movie, in which two brothers bungle some magic with strange results, contains a passing reference to a same-sex relationship for one of its secondary characters, which earned it a ban in at least four countries.
The reference reportedly comes in a scene in which the two brothers, voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, are in disguise and speak to Officer Bronco, voiced by Lena Waithe. Her character talks about “my girlfriend’s daughter,” which is the first Disney character considered to be openly gay.
According to Deadline, at least four nations in the Middle East will not screen the movie because of the reference:
But the reference hasn’t gone down well with censors in some countries, sources have confirmed. Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all banned the film due to the reference. The film, released regionally this week, is nowhere to be seen on cinema schedules in those territories. Other Middle East markets such as Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt are showing the film.
Deadline noted that the movie will be shown in Russia, another nation notorious for banning or censoring LGBTQ references, because it’s changing the word “girlfriend” to “partner” and doesn’t mention gender. The nation had previously censored Rocketman and Avengers: Endgame for similar mentions of LGBTQ characters.