The entire internet is gearing up for the crossover event that is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but it looks like MCU fans in Saudi Arabia won’t be able to join in on the fun.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia for the inclusion of an LGBTQ+ character America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez). While America is known to be queer in the comics, it’s said that Saudi Arabia was asking to cut a scene where Chavez mentions that she has two mothers.
According to The Guardian, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification Nawaf Alsabhan said about the scene, “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.”
While this could come as a bummer for any fan in Saudi, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Saudi had banned previous Marvel entries like Eternals for including gay characters, and they also did the same to Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story which included a character that was a trans man.
If anything, Alsabhan says they are still ‘trying’ to convince Disney to remove the one scene. “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,” he says.
Online, fans are actually happy that Disney is finally taking a stand. After all the criticism that went to the company after it was revealed that they were screening LGBTQ+ content—including an employee walkout—it’s good to see the studio actually support diversity.
Catch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when it hits theaters May 6.