Disney’s ‘Lightyear’ smacked with NC16 rating: IMDA

Buzz Lightyear in ‘Lightyear.’ Photo: Pixar
Buzz Lightyear in ‘Lightyear.’ Photo: Pixar

Children won’t be allowed to watch a highly anticipated Disney film when it hits cinemas tomorrow, all because it features a lesbian couple. 

Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear has been slapped with an NC16 rating by Singaporean censors for featuring the journey of a female lead character and her partner, and a kiss they deemed as having “overt homosexual depictions.” 

“This being a children’s cartoon, a significant number of [Films Consultative Panel] members felt that the overt depiction of same-gender marriage would warrant a higher rating. Even among members who were willing to consider a lower rating, some were uncomfortable that this would mean it can be shown unedited,” Cheryl Ng, Chairperson of IMDA’s Films Consultative Panel, said.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority, or IMDA, said this warranted “a higher rating” and that Disney refused to release a more PG version for younger audiences. It attributed its rating to its guidelines that should be “sensitive to social norms and values that are generally acceptable to members of the public.”

Some unhappy fans called the decision a “joke” that was “typical” of Singapore. 

“SG might as well rate every movie where 2 ppl of the same gender share eye contact as 16+,” a Rin Ling wrote.

“This is what censorship and discrimination looks like. How can the government say we don’t discriminate against LGBT people?” a Michael Rawlinson wrote. 

Others agreed with the authorities that the scenes are “inappropriate” for children and would teach “wrong ethical values.”

IMDA said it decided the NC16 rating was appropriate after consulting with its panel members, citing Singapore’s “diverse society” in the sense that it has “multiple sensibilities and viewpoints.”

Most panel members said they were “uncomfortable” if the scenes in question were not cut from the film.

The movie is a spin-off of Toy Story, Pixar’s first animated franchise. It follows Buzz Lightyear as he embarks on an intergalactic adventure with recruits and a robot companion.

It is the first children’s animated film to be given an NC16 rating in Singapore over LGBT content. The film has not only been problematic in Singapore. Reuters reported that it has been banned in 14 countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

China also requested a censored version, but Disney declined to cut the scenes.

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