Benedict Wong and Xochitl Gomez have spoken out about Doctor Strange 2 being “withdrawn” from release in Saudi Arabia due to LGBTQ+ references, in an exclusive interview with The Digital Fix.
The MCU Phase 4 movie was set to be released in theatres in the country on May 5, but according to The Guardian, who spoke to an employee at AMC Cinemas in Saudi Arabia, the film has been “withdrawn.” According to The Guardian, the country asked for “LGBTQ+ references” in the film to be edited out — but Disney refused.
“It’s just [Chavez] talking about her moms, because she has two moms,”Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification told the outlet. “And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this.” He added: “We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.” A similar scenario occurred with another MCU movie Eternals, which wasn’t released in the country because a same-sex relationship is depicted in the fantasy movie.
Gomez, who makes her debut as the canonically lesbian superhero America Chavez, told The Digital Fix, “ I feel really sad about the fact that some of those people in those countries won’t be able to see the movie. I know they’re really big, passionate fans out there that won’t be able to see it in their countries.”
“But, I’m very happy and proud that the MCU has, you know, stuck to it and kept those scenes in there, and I’m happy that I get to play America Chavez.”
Benedict Wong, who plays Sorcerer Supreme Wong, added, “It’s a shame for the fans living in those particular countries, but what Marvel does and what we do is represent, we give a voice to the voiceless and that’s what we continue to do so people can see heroes upon the screen.”
“That’s all you can do. And hope one day that, you know, they find a compassion where they can connect with us.”
Doctor Strange 2 is available to watch in cinemas now.