Gay character in Doctor Strange leads to Marvel film ban in some countries

Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has been banned from theaters in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter on Friday.

Apparently, the ban is related to the presence of a gay character in the upcoming Marvel blockbuster. According to the report, films that include LGBTQ + references are often censored or outright banned in many Persian Gulf countries because homosexuality is illegal there.

Marvel, owned by Disney DIS,
had a similar problem with his 2021 film “Eternals”; was banned throughout the Persian Gulf for portraying a same-sex couple and the first openly gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The movie Dr. Strange introduces the character America Chavez, a lesbian hero who first appeared in Marvel Comics in 2011; Ch├ívez’s character is being played by Xochitl Gomez.

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Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as other Persian Gulf countries, have also censored the film “West Side Story” for its inclusion of a transgender character, and Pixar’s “Onward” for a reference to lesbian parents.

According to the report, the ban on these films applies to theatrical releases in these countries.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was originally scheduled to launch in the Persian Gulf on May 5; the film will still be released in the US in the first week of May.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for MarketWatch feedback on this story.

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The news comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing to end Disney’s self-government rules in apparent retaliation for the company’s comments on the so-called “Parental Rights in Education” law, known informally. like the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The law prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade, a policy that has called for the scrutiny of people who argue that LGBTQ + people are marginalized.

DeSantis had previously said that Disney “crossed a line” by attacking the law.

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