UAE blocks release of 'Across the Spider-Verse' over 'Protect Trans Lives' poster

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Los Angeles, June 16 (IANS): 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' will not be released in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after failing to pass the country's censorship requirements, 'Variety' has confirmed.

A scene featuring a poster in the background of the frame that depicts the transgender flag and reads 'Protect Trans Lives' is said to be one of the concerns that prevented a release from being approved, sources told 'Variety'.

The UAE ban comes only a week ahead of the Sony Pictures film's intended release date in the region of June 22. It isn't uncommon, says 'Variety', for the country's censorship board to axe the imminent release of films featuring LGBTQ+ content.

Another animated film faced a similar predicament last summer, when Disney and Pixar's 'Lightyear' was not released in the UAE due to a scene depicting a same-sex kiss between two lesbian space rangers. The 'Toy Story' spinoff was also banned from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia.

It remains unclear whether 'Across the Spider-Verse' will receive a release in Saudi Arabia, though the country's censorship requirements often align with those of the UAE.

Along with its presentation of a 'Protect Trans Lives' poster, 'Variety' reports, 'Across the Spider-Verse' has drawn attention for how it explores the arc of Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld), who some viewers have interpreted as a trans-coded character.

In the film, Stacy conceals the secret of her true identity from her father. Scenes set in the character's dimension also prominently feature the colours of the transgender flag. Stacy, though, is not explicitly identified as transgender in the film.