About one month after director Olivia Wilde raised questions about airline editing of her lesbian-themed teen coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, another major Hollywood film is the target of complaints over “problematic” in-flight censorship.
According to Canadian actor Dan Levy, star and co-creator of the popular TV sitcom Schitt’s Creek, the blockbuster biopic of rock star Elton John has also suffered cuts that were, according to Levy, specifically designed to remove gay content.
“On a flight and noticed Delta cut the gay love scenes out of @rocketmanmovie,” Levy wrote on Twitter last week. “Censoring LGBTQ love stories/intimacy is highly problematic and super disappointing.”
The 36-year-old Levy, who came out as gay in 2017, is the son of comic actor Eugene Levy, of Second City Television, the American Pie film series and numerous other comedic roles.
The airline editing of Booksmart was also accused of “straightwashing” the film, because one of the most severe edits removed a lesbian love scene—though the scene contained no nudity.
The Booksmart controversy was quickly followed by revelations that Rocketman, which tells the life story of the gay rock star whose given name is Reg Dwight, had also been subject to editing of a gay love scene, including one such scene that John himself had insisted be included in the theatrical release of the film.
An editor for Entertainment Weekly first posted about the editing on Twitter, noting that the film was stripped of almost every gay reference or scene that Elton John fought to keep in the film’s mainstream release, “including a simple chaste kiss.”
In response to the controversies, a Delta Airlines spokesperson claimed that the selective editing of LGBTQ content wouldn’t happen again.
“Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version,” the Delta spokesperson said. “We selected the edited version and now realize content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films. We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
But Levy’s tweet indicates that the censorship of Rocketman continues. According to Film News, the airline has yet to respond to Levy’s criticism.
Publicity Photo by Paramount Pictures
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