While he might be able to travel the multiverse, it seems Miles Morales will not have the luxury of visiting the United Arab Emirates, as the country has banned Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse from screening within its borders due to the film’s inclusion of “content contrary to the values and principles” of the Middle Eastern nation.
Word of the UAE’s decision was first announced, albeit vaguely, on June 12th courtesy of the country’s Media Regulatory Office, the official government entity tasked implementing and enforcing “legislations, regulations, and standards related to media services and media content”.
“Disclaimer,” wrote the MRO just ten days ahead of the film’s June 22nd UAE premiere date (via Google Translate). “The Emirates Media Council monitors and evaluates the media content circulating locally, and the Council confirms that it will not allow the circulation or publication of content contrary to the values and principles of the UAE and the standards of media content in force in the country.”
In the wake of this announcement, Reuters received word from the UAE-based Vox Cinemas that the movie had been pulled from theaters nationwide.
Though this initial statement did not specifically which piece of media had drawn the ire of the MRO, Deadline was able to confirm on June 15th that it was, in fact, Across the Spider-Verse.
While the government did not identify the content they found objectionable, it has been speculated that this ban was issued in response to both the recent fan theories that the film’s version of Gwen Stacy is transgender, as well as the young heroine’s hanging of a ‘Protect Trans Kids‘ above her bedroom door, both of which promote concepts that run counter to the country’s strict Islamic beliefs.
As of writing, Sony, Marvel, and Disney have yet to offer any official comment on the MRO’s decision.
Unsurprisingly, this is far from the first time the UAE has objected to LGBT content from being shown within their borders.
Not only did the country only allow Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Marvel’s Eternals to play in theaters by editing out their respective same-sex kisses from local cuts, but the country outright banned Lightyear due to its featuring of a lesbian couple.