HBO’s The Last of Us keeps on delivering top notch queer episodes focused on some of the LGBTQ+ characters in the show and showing us their love lives. However, the most recent episode to do this was edited in some regions in a way that an earlier episode was not.
Journalist Mohamed Khairat tweeted that the kiss scene between Ellie and her best friend Riley in the episode was cut out of the episode in the Middle East and North Africa region on OSN+. He also reported that the episode featuring two gay men, Bill and Frank, from earlier in the season was not edited in the region despite having more kisses and scenes of physical intimacy.
“The Last of Us' 'Left Behind' episode is censored on OSN+ (MENA region), with one (pretty key) kiss scene cut out of it; and it absolutely makes no sense given 'Long, Long Time' ft Bill and Frank had no cuts,” Khairat said along with a video of the scene in the episode where the two girls kiss.
Khairat continued, saying that the cut was so clean, he thought it was the official HBO version. “The cut is so smooth too and so unexpected given episode 3 was not censored that it left me thinking 'that's an odd departure from the video game by @hbomax/@Naughty_Dog’”
Certain regions (usually in the Middle East or Russia) are notorious for this kind of censorship of gay scenes and references.
In 2021, the MCU’s first gay kiss in the movie The Eternals was edited out in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Ethiopia, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. Then, a year later, references to Albus Dumbledore being gay in the film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore were also edited out.
Just earlier this year, the Russian version of The White Lotus featured some heavily-edited episodes, including climactic scenes in the finale. A scene where Jennifer Coolidge’s character says that a group of “gays” was trying to kill her was edited to say it was a group of “men.”New episodes of The Last of Us air Sunday nights on HBO and HBO Max.