Disney-Pixar’s latest animated release “Onward” has been censored in Russia, banned in some Middle Eastern countries, and boycotted in the U.S. after introducing the first openly gay character in an animated feature film.
The character, voiced by actress Lena Waithe, appears in just one “vital” scene in the middle of the film. During the scene, the female character, named Specter, makes mention of her lesbian girlfriend.
However, according to a report from the Russian film website Kinopoisk.ru, the Russian dubbed version changes the word “girlfriend” to “partner.”
“Presumably, Disney’s Russian branch tried to avoid unnecessary problems with the anticipated project’s release,” the website said.
A Disney spokesperson in Russia has declined to comment on the website’s queries.
According to The Moscow Times, “this is at least the third known censorship of a gay scene from a foreign film in Russia since the country passed a controversial 2013 law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ to minors.”
Russian distributors have previously cut scenes from Elton John’s biopic, “Rocketman” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
“Onward” has also reportedly been banned in multiple Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt, however, are all said to be showing the film.
Last week, in the U.S., a petition calling for a boycott of the new film, attracted more than 56,000 signatures from concerned parents. The petition, which is addressed to Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek, says:
“Parents are the primary educators of their children, and Disney has no place to interfere with what parents teach their children about sexual mores. By forcing the LGBT agenda on us, you are seriously disrespecting our values.”
Those who signed the petition pledged not to see the film for “sexualizing children with the LGBT agenda.”