A new report claims that multiple Middle Eastern countries have banned Marvel’s Eternals film over a homosexual kiss scene featured in the film.
The Hollywood Reporter ‘s Alex Ritman claims the film has been banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Ritman explains, “The news emerged on Thursday, with Eternals having quietly been removed from websites in each of those countries.”
The THR writer further stated, “Sources suggest the decision was likely made over the inclusion of a same-sex couple in the film and the MCU’s first gay superhero. In one scene, the character, Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry), and his on-screen husband, Ben (Haaz Sleiman), share a passionate kiss.”
Related: Report: Marvel’s The Eternals And Shang-Chi Might Get Banned From China
Deadline further added that the film had been banned in Bahrain and Oman as well.
Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro and Nancy Tartaglione explained the decision to ban it there and in Saudi Arabia, “In Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, the censors were seeking further cuts beyond any scenes of intimacy and that Disney opted not to make the edits, hence distribution certificates weren’t issued.”
In contrast to The Hollywood Reporter’s claims, they claim the film was banned in Kuwait and Qatar not solely for the homosexual kiss scene, but it also might have been with the depiction of gods and prophets.
They further added, “In the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt we understand that a version of the film will be released that removes all scenes of intimacy — be they heterosexual or homosexual. This is generally normal practice for these markets.”
Related: Marvel Studios Boss Kevin Feige Confirms Gay Character for The Eternals: “He’s Married. He’s Got a Family.”
Back in August 2019, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige confirmed the film would feature a couple.
He told Good Morning America, “He’s married. He’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is.”
.@Disney‘s EPIC surprises! From #LizzieMcGuire to @DisneyFrozen 2 to @starwars #TheRiseOfSkywalker to #BlackPanther 2 — @Ginger_Zee has ALL the highlights!
Find more on all the incredible #D23Expo announcements here: https://t.co/EutVh4kPAM pic.twitter.com/P7jo6cfhDP
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 26, 2019
Related: Marvel’s The Eternals To Feature MCU’s First Gay Kiss Between Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos And His Husband Played By Haaz Sleiman
However, at the time Feige did not reveal which character was a homosexual.
Sleiman would eventually reveal the character was Phastos played by Brian Tyree Henry. He told New Now Next, “I just shot a Marvel film with the first openly gay superhero, The Eternals.”
He added, “I’m married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry, and we represent a gay family and have a child.”
Sleiman further revealed the film features a homosexual kiss. When asked if there was a kiss, he stated, “Oh, yeah, absolutely, and it’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set.”
Sleiman continued, “For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be.”
Related: Kevin Feige Promises Eternals’ Phastos Is “Just The Start” Of Gay Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
At the Eternals premiere in Los Angeles, Feige would claim that Phastos was “just the start” of introducing homosexual characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
He told Variety, “There have been gay heroes before in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies. And it’s just the start.”
“There have been gay heroes before in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies,” Kevin Feige says of the Marvel film’s first gay superhero. “It’s just the start.” https://t.co/F6rov2HB1g pic.twitter.com/XZXMs5G4zo
— Variety (@Variety) October 19, 2021
Related: Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Says No Point In Including Gay Phastos Family If Audience “Don’t Feel It”
The film’s director Chloe Zhao specifically addressed Phastos role in the film while speaking with IndieWire to promote the film.
She said, “The way Phastos’ story plays out in the film is that he’s someone who only sees humanity as a whole and believes that technology’s going to solve the problem. Obviously, he lost faith in us for some very tough things that we’ve done.”
The director continued, “And then he had to stop looking at us as a whole and look at one person he falls in love with, and one child, to regain the face of humanity. It’s like us turning on the news and thinking it’s completely hopeless and then going home, looking at our lover and our child and going like, ‘Well actually this is worth fighting for.’”
She then explained that if the audience doesn’t care about Phastos and his family there was no reason for them to be in the film.
“To position that family in that specific situation and to have that moment feel authentic and real…the audience has to feel that to care. Otherwise, there’s no point in putting that onscreen because they don’t feel it,” she said.
What do you make of these reports that the Eternals has been banned in these Middle Eastern countries?