Disney censors same-sex kiss scene from 'The Rise of Skywalker' for S'pore release

The scene was also cut in the UAE, but not in China.

Matthias Ang | December 21, 2019, 03:04 PM

A scene depicting kissing between two women in the latest Star Wars film, "The Rise of Skywalker", has been cut by Disney for screening in Singapore.

In response to Mothership's queries, a spokesperson for the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) stated that Disney had removed a "brief scene" from the film which would have necessitated a higher rating under Film Classification Guidelines.

The spokesperson said:

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has been rated PG13 for theatrical release in Singapore. The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the Film Classification Guidelines would require a higher rating."

PG13 for The Rise of Skywalker

There are currently six ratings for the film classification in Singapore.

They include G (General), PG (Parental Guidance), PG 13 (Parental Guidance 13), NC16 (No Children under 16), M18 (Mature 18) and R21 (Restricted 21).

In other words, a PG13 film like The Rise of Skywalker is not age restrictive. Parents can exercise their discretion as to whether they would want their children to watch the film.

Kiss between two minor characters

The scene in question, according to Yahoo News, is likely to be the one that occurs towards the end of the film where two female members of the resistance are seen sharing a kiss during a celebration sequence.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), both of them are minor characters and are not featured prominently throughout the film.

Cut in the Middle East, retained in China

Apart from Singapore, the scene has also been cut in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with several people stating that the kiss had been removed from the film's screening in Dubai, THR further reported.

As such, the cut is expected to be replicated across the Middle East, given that the UAE is considered more tolerant than its neighbours on film censorship.

This cut is likely to have been made in line with the region's strict sensitivities, with homosexuality officially considered as illegal in most countries.

However, the scene was not cut from the film's release in China.

This is despite the country's censorship of LGBT content in many instances, with the exception of a brief gay scene in Disney's live action "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017.

Representation or tokenism?

Speaking to Variety earlier in December, the film's director, J.J. Abrams, stated that it was important for the LGBTQ community to be represented onscreen.

Abrams said,"...in the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film."

However, the scene has also since been criticised as a "throwaway" moment by netizens on Twitter, given the minor status of the characters British media The Independent further reported.

Mothershiphas reached out to Disney on Dec.21 for a response on the matter.

Top image screenshot from Star Wars YouTube