Art & Entertainment

Disney Rejects Saudi Arabia's Demand To Remove LGBTQ Reference From 'Doctor Strange 2'

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,' directed by Sam Raimi, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. It is a continuation to 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,' and is part of MCU's Phase 4.

A still from the film 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'
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Following claims that Marvel's upcoming feature 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' has been banned in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi official has emphasised that negotiations with the film's production firm Disney are still ongoing.

Saudi Arabia requested Disney to delete a sequence containing allusions to same-sex relationships, according to the official, but the company flatly refused. According to sources, the film has not officially been banned since negotiations are still ongoing. On May 6, the film will be released in theatres all around the world.

Saudi Arabia had previously announced that the film will not be released in the country. According to reports, the existence of lesbian character America Chavez was to blame (played by Xochitl Gomez). However, it has since been revealed that the real reason for Saudi Arabia's reluctance to distribute the film is a scene in which the character refers to her "two moms."

According to a report in The Guardian, Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, said, “It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms. And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this. We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.”

The official, however, denied that the video had been prohibited in the country. In an interview with the AFP news agency, he said, “It will never be banned. 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.”

In response to a similar request from Chinese authorities, Warner Bros. recently deleted same-sex romantic allusions from 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.' This allowed the movie to be released in a lucrative market. LGBTQI advocates, on the other hand, chastised the studio for bowing in to China's demands. However, the studio was criticized by LGBTQI activists for caving in to China’s request. Defending their actions, the studio released a statement that read, "As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors.”

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,' directed by Sam Raimi, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. It is a continuation to 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,' and is part of MCU's Phase 4. Because the film is about variants and the multiverse, there's a potential that multiple performers will appear in cameo roles, either as variations of existing characters or reprising roles from other series.

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