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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Banned in UAE, Likely Over Trans Poster

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Banned in UAE, Likely Over Trans Poster

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Banned in UAE, Likely Over Trans Poster
Sony Pictures Animation

A poster saying “Protect Trans Lives” in the film is rumored to have upset the UAE’s censorship board.

Bad news for fans of the Spider-Man franchise in the United Arab Emirates. The much-anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, will not be hitting theaters in the region.

According to Variety, the movie failed to meet the country's censorship requirements. One particular scene that featured a poster with the transgender flag and the message "Protect Trans Lives" raised concerns and ultimately led to the film's rejection.

This is not the first time the UAE's censorship board has barred the release of a movie due to LGBTQ+ content.

Last summer, Disney and Pixar's Lightyear faced a similar fate when a scene depicting a same-sex kiss between two lesbian space rangers resulted in a ban. The "Toy Story" spinoff also failed to make it to the screens in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Malaysia.

The decision to withhold Across the Spider-Verse represents a surprising turn of events, considering that its predecessor, Into the Spider-Verse, did see a local release in 2018 and even managed to gross an impressive $1.7 million in the territory. Whether the new installment will fare any differently in Saudi Arabia remains uncertain, as the country's censorship requirements tend to align with those of the UAE.

Apart from the controversy surrounding the transgender flag poster, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has attracted attention for its portrayal of Gwen Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld.

Some viewers have interpreted the character as being trans-coded, as Stacy conceals her true identity from her father throughout the film. Additionally, the film prominently features the colors of the transgender flag in scenes set in Stacy's dimension, although she is not explicitly identified as transgender in the storyline.

As fans eagerly await the release of Across the Spider-Verse in other parts of the world, this serves as yet another reminder of the ongoing struggles for acceptance and equality in the realm of entertainment.

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