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Doctor Strange 2: the film is censored in Saudi Arabia because of this LGBTQ character


Broadcast a film at theinternational is a difficult exercise and producers know it well. Each country has its own laws in force and the censorship can touch many sensitive points for many individuals or politicians. disney is a great regular at balancing work for broadcast his films everywherebut Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Unfortunately, there is a risk of falling by the wayside in some countries.

Doctor Strange 2 : a controversial character

This is unfortunately something that is likely to become more common in the future, and Disney has already paid the price. One of his films will be banned from broadcasting in many countries includingSaudi Arabia and possibly some Gulf countries for homophobic reasons. The most recent occurrence was the movie The Eternalswho owned the characters Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Ben (Haaz Sleiman) as the first openly gay couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film had been censored in several Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait as well as in Russia and China after Disney refused censorship requests. It’s not the first time that Doctor Strange 2 is censored, since Italy had already asked to modify a poster. Request that was accepted to appear less offensive.

The character who is at the origin of all these criticisms against the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is actually America Chávez. An openly gay character since its creation, and who will be introduced in Sam Raimi’s film. Created in 2011 by writer Joe Casey and artist Nick Dragotta in the comic book Vengeance #1, here is what the author said in an interview about the character’s arrival in the MCU:

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It’s not a trait unique to America Chavez, but I thought our idea of ​​the superhero had to fundamentally reflect our own reality. Unlike the Marvel Universe that began in the 1960s, our relationship with it [America Chavez] is different. Our reality is now multicultural and characters like Chavez, Miles Morales, Kamala Khan not only reflect the world of 2022, they are also connected to a part of the fans who identify with them.

Censorship is an issue that has come up more and more in the debate recently, especially when films have ever larger budgets. Very large markets such as China are difficult to access and can be very profitable, but for that it is necessary to accept some concessions to satisfy the power in place. Disney had tried a friendly approach thanks to the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in order to unblock censorship in the country, but without success. Since then, the two entities have maintained strained relations. Other heavyweights, such as Warner, have decided to comply with China’s demandscensoring two dialogues in the recent sequel to Fantastic Beasts reporting Albus Dumbledore’s homosexuality. If Disney tries to give itself an image of a defender of LGBTQIA + rights, it must however be put into perspective.

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Indeed, last March for the release of the Pixar film Red alert, the team working on the film forcefully explained that Disney did everything to minimize the importance, or even the presence, of openly gay characters in its productions. In an open letter, they explain that “Almost every moment of gay affection is cut by order of Disney, despite protests from Pixar’s creative teams and executives. Even if the creation of LGBTQIA+ content was a response to discriminatory legislation, we are prevented from creating it.” Without going into accusations of homophobia, it is now easy to understand the decisions studios, caught between their excessive expenses for the creation of multicultural products, the good representation of the characters, but also to ensure the sales of the films and their distribution in the widest possible range of countries.

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