Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is a 2019 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by JJ Abrams. Starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Billie Lourd.
The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Hollywood's campaign to promote diversity resulted in a gay kiss being included in the latest
Star Wars movie, The Rise of Skywalker. This is the franchise's first same-sex kiss.
But the importance of this galactic first hasn't struck a chord in the Middle East. According to several people speaking to The Hollywood Reporter who have seen
the latest Star Wars at cinemas in Dubai, the scene featuring the kiss had been removed from their screening.
Given that the United Arab Emirates is largely more tolerant than its neighbours when it comes to film censorship and Dubai's status as the
regional hub for the entertainment industry, it is thought that this cut will be replicated across the Middle East.
The Hollywood Reporter also notes that the Chinese films censors left the kiss intact for Chinese audiences.
Disney has cut a brief scene of two women kissing in the Singaporean version of its latest Star Wars film. The scene was described by reviewers as a brief flash of two women kissing... among a crowd of characters.
But the version released in Singapore
omits the scene. Singapore's film censors told the BBC that Disney cut the scene so it didn't get a higher age rating.
The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the film classification guidelines would require a higher rating, said a
spokesperson from IMDA.
Without the kiss, the film is rated PG13 in Singapore.
Downton Abbey is a 2019 UK period drama by Michael Engler. Starring Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith and Tuppence Middleton.
Adapted from the hit TV series Downton Abbey that tells
the story of the Crawley family, a wealthy owner of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.
The Downton Abbey movie may seem family-friendly, but gay references have caused a stir for the Irish film
censor. The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) revealed that the film was initially given a 12A rating due to several offensive references to the sexuality of a gay butler, Thomas Barrow. A subplot in which Barrow visits a gay club in York sees the
bar raided by police who are verbally abusive towards the gay men, describing them as 'perverts' and 'queers'.
In fact filmmakers had consulted a historical adviser who said that Barrow's experiences are an accurate depiction of gay life in
interwar Britain. The plot was also praised by LGBT+ activists.
So the movie's distributor Universal were no doubt confident in appealing IFCO's decision, seeking a PG rating. The appeal was duly won and the film has now been re-rated to PG
for brief homophobic reference.
The appeals board felt an audience familiar with its characters and setting would have been aware of the storyline about a gay character, so they changed the rating to a PG.
Ger Connolly, the director of
IFCO, told The Times that the 12A classification had been a margin call. He said:
My decision came down to the use of words like 'pervert' in the context of a character's sexuality. For me, that moved it into the 12A
Connolly was clearly a lone voice in deciding on a 12A rating and received no support in the UK where the film was always rated PG uncut by the BBFC for mild threat, language.
The collected edition of Avengers: The Children's Crusade has been banned from a Brazilian book festival for featuring a kiss between two male characters.
In an unexpected move, Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella has announced that the
translated edition of the Marvel comic book series Avengers: The Children's Crusade would be removed from the literary festival Riocentro Bienal do Livro so as to protect the city's children from what he described as sexual content for minors.
so-called sexual content in question is an on-panel kiss between two fully clothed male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in committed relationship.
Officials at the festival initially refused to comply with the order, although the matter
was complicated by the fact that the majority of outlets didn't have the material in stock in the first place, with the one storefront that did reporting that copies had already sold out two days earlier.
The Brazilian secretary of culture, Henrique Pires, has resigned over what he describes as the conservative government's censorship of arts dealing with LGBTQ+ content. He considered that this was the final straw in a series of efforts to censor diverse
On 21 August, the government suspended a competition launched under a federal initiative called the Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA) that would disperse from 400,000 to 800,000 reais (around $98,000 to $195,000) to five public television
productions across 12 categories such as gender, environment and professional life. In an announcement calling for the cancellation of the competition on 15 August, Bolsonaro specifically targeted four television projects that dealt with gender
diversity: Afronte, Tranversais, Religare Queer and Reverse Sex .
It is very clear that I am out of tune with OsmarTerra [minister of citizenship] and the president on freedom of
expression. I don't agree that culture can have filters, so I'm leaving.
Google has changed its algorithm for the search term 'lesbian' to show informative results instead of pornographic content.
Previously, the first results shown when googling the word were porn videos.
The algorithm has been changed
seemingly as a result of a campaign led by the Twitter account @SEO_lesbienne and French news site Numerama. They noted that only the word lesbian linked to sexualised pages, whereas searching for gay or trans displayed Wikipedia pages, articles and
Now if you want to find some lesbian porn, you have to type 'lesbian porn'.
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
The Malaysian film censor has cut scenes which depicted depicted men kissing and
having sex with one another. Safaruddin Mohammad Ali, head of the Film Censorship Board explained:
We do not allow any scenes that promote LGBTQ in films that are for public viewing.
film censor commented that although it is about the real life of Elton John, it is not for him to allow the public to see whatever he does or whatever activities he indulges in that is not our culture,
The film was also cut by the distributors in
Russia over fears of the country's anti gay laws. Rocket man was also banned in Samoa.
A major Lebanese music festival has cancelled a concert by the country's best-known rock band, Mashrou' Leila , to prevent bloodshed after church leaders accused the group of blasphemy.
The Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Byblos claimed last
week that Mashrou' Leila's songs violate religious values and demanded the gig be pulled. Facebook users had threatened to stop the show by force, with some claiming to be God's Soldiers.
Lawmakers in Byblos urged the festival's organisers to pull
the concert to respect sanctities and morals.
The Byblos festival duly cancelled explaining that it was forced to cancel the group's performance next week on security grounds. Christians had threatened to attack the concert if it went ahead.
Mashrou' Leila's lead singer is openly gay and the band tackles taboos that few other Arab musicians have explored.
The band blamed a defamatory campaign relying exclusively on fabrications that couldn't be further from the truth. The band said
in a statement:
We are not on some sort of mission to arbitrarily blaspheme and disrespect people's religious symbols.
A petition in Kenya was signed by 51,000 people seeking to ban any content by Disney from showing in Kenya.
The petition cited the examples of Frozen 2 and Beauty & the Beast whose inclusion of gay characters was referred to the
films being laced with gay connotations and sexual undertones not suitable for children.
The petition also cited a gay pride parade held at the Disney theme park in Florida .
However, the Kenyan film censor Ezekiel Mutua said his
team had combed through the trailers of the contentious movies and couldn't identify areas that would warrant a total ban. He added that the board would only make a decision on the movie for its release on November 22, 2019.
Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe became the focus of a PC lynch mob when she touched on the topic of homosexuality when being interviewed on Sky's Sophie Ridge on Sunday. She speculated:
I also pointed out that there was a
time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa and the fact that we now think it is quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn't mean that science may not be able to produce an answer at some stage.
This seems to acknowledge the current thinking on the subject and adds a idle speculation about the future. It hardly seems to be anything to get worked up about and much of the 'outrage' seems to have been generated by partially
reporting the quote as if she was speaking about something more current.
The resulting lynch mob managed to get her touring stage show, Strictly Ann: An Evening with Ann Widdecombe, banned from several venues.
But The Lowther
Pavilion in Lythm, Lancashire bravely allowed her show to go on. Tim Lince, chairman of Lowther Theatre's Trust, said:
I do not feel we should be in the business of censorship. I believe the theatre is open for
everybody to speak and that's a very important thing we should all defend. If there had been an incident where something had been said that had led to police action, the board would have had no place in that. The Lowther would not support anything where
there has been police action.
Ihe theatre issued a statement in which it said:
The right of free speech in the theatre was long fought and should be protected so that all opinions can be
represented. Lowther Pavilion has always had an inclusive performance and use policy and this has been represented by previous and future presentations booked at the theatre.
About 25 people protested outside the theatre with little
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher. Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of
Elton John's breakthrough years.
During the Russian premiere of Rocketman on 30th May in Moscow, film goers noticed the 40s gay male sex scene between Elton John (Taron Egerton) and manager, John Reid (Richard Madden) was missing.
Film critic Anton Dolin saw the original version in Cannes and remarked the Russian edit cut out scenes of kissing, sex and oral sex between men. This included a photo of Elton John and his husband David Furnish in the closing credits. It also didn't
show scenes featuring drug and alcohol use. Around five minutes in total was missing from the Russian cut of Rocketman.
Maybe the 5 minutes may be an exaggeration. Not also that there are Russian laws banning the 'promotion' of gay sex so such
censorship may be a legal necessity rather than a morality decision by the film censor.
Update: Russian distributors blasted by Elton John
Elton John has hit out at Russian film distributors for editing out gay sex scenes from his biopic Rocketman, adding that it was a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in.
The local film distributor, Central Partnership company
told news agency TASS that it cut the scenes to comply with Russian legislation
The decision to remove the scenes was made solely by the distributor, Russia's Culture Ministry told TASS, adding that it issued no recommendations concerning the
Film critic Dolin said the grossest thing about the Russian edit was that the final caption had been removed from the closing credits. In the original, it says that Elton John found the love of his life and is raising children with the man
he loves (there is a dramatic moment in the film when his mother says to him 'you are doomed to be lonely'). In the Russian version it says the musician set up a foundation to fight AIDS and is still working with a long-time co-author.
Alabama Public Television (APT) has banned a TV cartoon which shows a same-sex wedding.
The first episode of the 22nd series of children's programme Arthur features the character Mr Ratburn marrying his aardvark partner, Patrick.
instead ran an old episode, and announced it had no plans to show the premiere. Programming director Mike McKenzie claimed that broadcasting it would break parents' trust in the network. He said in a statement:
trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision, and that children younger than the 'target' audience might watch without parental knowledge.
Show creator WGBH and broadcaster PBS reportedly alerted local stations in
April about the episode, and McKenzie said this was when they decided not to air the show.
APT previously refused to broadcast a 2005 episode of the series which depicted Buster, a rabbit, visiting a girl who had two mothers.
Polish activist Elzbieta Podlesna has been arrested for 'offending' religious beliefs for possessing copies of a poster showing the religious characters of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus with rainbow halos.
Amnesty International's Regional Europe
Researcher, Barbora Cernusakova, commented:
We are extremely concerned to hear that Elzbieta Podlesna, a Polish human rights activist, was arrested and detained for several hours on spurious charges upon her return to
Poland from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with Amnesty International.
The posters had been posted around the town of Plock at the end of April. The posters depicted the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, one of the most highly
revered icons in Poland.
Amnesty International said:
Given the lack of evidence of a crime here, we can only see that Elzbieta has been detained for her peaceful activism. Amnesty International calls on the
Polish authorities to stop harassing peaceful protesters and activists in Poland, including by arbitrarily arresting people who stand up for their rights. Restricting activists from freely expressing their views in the country is unlawful and must stop
Memories of My Body is a 2018 Indonesia drama by Garin Nugroho. Starring Muhammad Khan, Raditya Evandra and Rianto.
In Center Java Juno, a pre-teen abandoned by his
father, joins a Lengger dance centre where men assume feminine appearances but the political and social upheaval in Indonesia forces him on the road, meeting remarkable people on his journey.
Muslim groups in Indonesia are calling for
a ban on the film Memories of My Body, a drama from the country's best-known art house director, Garin Nugroho. The groups claim that the film is sexually deviant and promotes LGBT values.
The film depicts the story of a young man from a dance
troupe that performs Lengger Lanang, a folk dance from central Java that is usually performed in pairs, and in which men often take both male and female roles.
Memories of My Body premiered in the Venice Film Festival's Horizon section, where it
won the prize for best film. The success was repeated at several other festivals.
The film encountered problems in Indonesia following its release on April 18. After being given a 17+ rating by the censorship board (LSF), the film was given a
In less than a week, the film was banned by local officials in regions including Depok and Palembang. Others called on the powerful assembly of Muslim elders known as the Indonesian Ulema Council to move against the film. Arovah
Windiani, a spokeswoman for the council said that, from a moral perspective, the film should not be out there.
A backlash against the film was further fanned on social media. An online petition calling for Memories of My Body to be banned
gained 160,000 signatures.
On Monday, the Muslim elders' council demanded that the censorship board change the film's certification to 21+, and recommended that Nugroho re-edit the film to make its meaning less ambiguous.
refused to revise the film and told Variety that he opposes mob justice.
With screenings banned in five provinces, the film is now playing on just three screens across the country.
In related news a
religious mob has attacked dancers at an Indonesian event.
Members of a Malay youth paramilitary organisation, justified the attack by claiming the dance was vulgar. They also said that the wearing of tight shirts by male dancers from Tanjungpura
University who were dancing femininely was not compatible with Indonesian culture.
A university lecturer and three students fell victim to the mob as they were celebrating World Dance Day in the Indonesian city of Pontianak last week.
Avengers: Endgame is a 2019 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring Brie Larson, Robert Downey Jr and Karen Gillan.
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that
wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.
The Russian release of Avengers: Endgame
features some tweaked dialogue in an early scene to straighten out Marvel's first gay character. The censorship was intended to avoid conflicts with Russia's ban on so-called gay propaganda.
[ Spoilers! hover or click
Early in the movie, one of the two Russo brothers plays a gay character who attends a support group with Steve Rogers (Captain America). The scene is brief but it marks the first time an openly gay character has appeared in a Marvel film.
The gay character says:
So, I went on a date the other day. First time in five years. He cried as they were serving the salad. [...] But I'm seeing him again tomorrow.
In the dubbed Russian version,
Joe Russo's character says:
I was recently at dinner. First time in five years. [...] He cried over a plate of salad. [...] Tomorrow I'm meeting him again.
A queer porn film festival in London this weekend was forced to relocate after protests by aggressive feminists.
Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the festival, which describes itself as celebrating queer, feminist, radical and
experimental porn, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event was instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.
Despite the festival's progressive intentions, multiple
complaints about the festival had earlier been made to Camden council.
Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object , clamed the films on show promoted degradation and oppression. In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled
out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work claiming the festival was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is likely to result in serious injury to the performers.
Festival organiser Rude Jude responded:
These are not violent or extreme in the legal definition,Some of the films show practices that some people aren't into, but that is very different.
Meanwhile the coordinators of a separate pressure
group, Women Against Pornography , spouted:
Feminist pornography is an oxymoron -- feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can
never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture will make them free.
Nimue Allen, whose film Fisting Fun was shown as part of the Brazen Brits strand on Friday, says the festival has proved an
inspiration for performers. Festivals like this are so important to show that there are alternatives to the mainstream porn -- Centring people of colour, trans performers, queer sex of all types -- and allowing people to see themselves represented on
screen -- is something that needs to be done so much more often.
Offsite Comment: Progressive Porn Vs Regressive Feminists
The Grand Tour presenter Jeremy Clarkson has pushed back at claims of homophobia from gay singer Will Young by joking about enjoying lesbian porn.
LGBT+ campaigner and musician Will Young had hit out at Clarkson after a recent episode of
Amazon motoring show included a running gag alluding to a Jeep Wrangler being gay. The January 27 episode of the Amazon show also saw Clarkson ask whether LGBT stands for lesbian, bacon, transgender.
I'm afraid 3 heterosexual men SO uncomfortable with their sexuality that they reference in some lame way a Wrangler Jeep being a Gay mans car
.... and then Hammond and May's 'quips to Clarkson wearing chaps , a
pink shirt , he should get some moisturiser . It's f**king pathetic and actually homophobic .
Clarkson responded to Young also on Twitter:
...I will apologise to Will for causing him some upset and
reassure him that I know I'm not homophobic as I very much enjoy watching lesbians on the internet.
gaystarnews.com has published an article outlining the dangers of porn viewers
submitting their identity data and browsing history to age verifiers and their websites. The article explains that the dangers for gay porn viewers are even mor pronounced that for straight viewers. The artisle illustrates this with an example:
David Bridle, the publisher of Dirty Boyz , announced in October that last month's issue of the magazine would be its last. He said:
Following the Conservative government's
decision ... to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system ... Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision to close.
The new age
verification system will be mostly run by large adult content companies which themselves host major "Tube" style porn sites. 'It would force online readers of Dirtyboyz to publicly declare themselves.
Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, told GSN the privacy of users needs protecting:
The issue with age verification systems is that they need to know it's you. This means there's a strong likelihood that it will basically track you and know what you're watching. And that's data that could be very
harmful to people.
It could cause issues in relationships. Or it could see children outed to their parents. It could mean people are subjected to scams and blackmail if that data falls into criminal hands. Government response
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Gay Star News:
Pornographic websites and age verification services will be subject to the UK's existing high
standard of data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection, with strong sanctions for malpractice and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office.
this is bollox, the likes of Facebook and Google are allowed to sell browsing data for eg targeted advertising within the remit of GDPR. And targeted advertising could be enough in itself to out porn viewers.
Family Guy is known for its politically incorrect humour, but now the team behind the show are making some changes. It appears that the jokes targeted at the LGBT community are on the way out.
In Sunday's episode, Peter Griffin, who is
voiced by the show's creator Seth MacFarlane, was seen telling a cartoon President Trump that the show was trying to phase out gay jokes.
In fairness, we've been trying to phase out the gay stuff, Peter replies. But you know what? We're
a cartoon. You're the president.
The change in direction has been confirmed by the show's executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, who told TV Line that they want to better reflect the current climate in the show.
One of the
defences of the show's controversial storylines is that they make fun of all minority groups equally and some have argued that there's no reason one particular minority group should be exempt.
If Family Guy is gonna be mainstream and not edgy,
what's the point? asked one fan of the show on Twitter. And some in the LGBT community argued the show does not offend them.
Killing Eve, the acclaimed TV hit is among the content being censored by Emirates airline due to its LGBT scenes.
Emirates, the world's fourth largest airline, offers films and television programmes with edited-out footage of same-sex kisses.
They include Oscar-nominated Ladybird , and at least one episode of BBC drama Killing Eve, In the original programme, one scene saw psychopathic assassin Villanelle seduce a woman. A kiss between them is removed. In Ladybird, the censored scene
saw Ronan's protagonist burst into a toilet cubicle to find her boyfriend kissing another boy from their drama group. In the edited version, the kiss is cut out and the film skips straight to the aftermath. A spokesperson for Emirates claimed:
Emirates acquires mostly theatrical unedited versions of content, but as a family friendly airline serving an international audience, where there is excessive violence, sex, nudity or language, we opt to license the edited
versions created by the studios/distributors.