The much-awaited Marvel Studio movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has been banned in Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries over the presence of an LGBTQ+ character.
According to the reports, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the second Doctor Strange film and the latest offering from phase 4 of the Marvel cinematic universe, was all set to release in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on May 5. However, the Saudi Arabian censors did not issue the distribution certificate to the Marvel Studio movie.
The Benedict Cumberbatch-led superhero movie is scheduled to hit theatres in the US on May 6.
The Sam Raimi-directed sequel has a character named “America Chavez”, played by actor Xochitl Gomez. Her character in the film is reportedly gay.
Advanced tickets are no longer available on the websites of cinemas in Saudi Arabia. Tickets are also not yet available in neighboring Gulf countries of Kuwait and Qatar putting a question mark over the film’s release there as well. However, they are available for sale in the United Arab Emirates, suggesting it will be released there.
Earlier, Marvel’s “The Eternals” was also banned in Saudi Arabia for featuring same-gender couple romance and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay superhero. Steven Spielberg’s romantic musical West Side Story was also banned across all Gulf countries over the presence of a transgender character
Homosexuality remains illegal in the Islamic countries of the gulf and attracts a strict punishment by law.