Moviegoers won’t have to look toward infinity and beyond for homophobia.
After Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait banned the release of Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story” prequel “Lightyear” due to gay themes, a local theater in Kingfisher, Oklahoma is warning moviegoers about the film’s same-sex kiss, promising to fast-forward through the scene.
NBC News reported that the 89er Theatre, located roughly 50 miles outside of Oklahoma City, posted a warning sign on its window about the kiss between Uzo Aduba’s character Hawthorne and her scientist wife. “Attention Parents: The management of this theatre discovered after booking ‘Lightyear’ that there is a same-sex kissing scene within the first 30 minutes of the Pixar movie,” a sign read. “We will do all we can to fast-forward through that scene, but it might not be exact.”
The Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR noted the poster was put up over the opening weekend but had been taken down by Monday afternoon. Alex Wade, the deputy director of LGBTQ advocacy organization Oklahomans for Equality, told the broadcast team that he was “not shocked to see something like this happening in my state.”
“When same-sex couples show affection, even the most chaste of kisses, it is sexualized and treated as if it were explicit,” Wade said. “If this were a heterosexual couple, the theater would never even think of skipping it, because heterosexual couples are given the grace to be intimate without being shamed.”
Local resident Patricia Kasbek told NBC News that she left a voicemail complaint with the theater after realizing the sign wasn’t a joke.
“I told them that it was completely insulting for them to censor a same-gender kiss when they’ve never done this to an opposite-gender kiss,” Kasbek said, adding that the sign was “cruel” and “bigoted.” “I will never see a movie at this theater while under this ownership.”
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans previously spoke out against the backlash to the queer relationship in the film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” Evans told Reuters. “Every time there’s been social advancement as we wake up, the American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good.”
Evans added, “There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs. I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” disappointed at the box office, opening to just $51 million in grosses, though the film is expected to be a hit when it arrives on Disney+.