West Side Story not showing in Gulf 'given trans character'

West Side Story: Spielberg film 'not showing in Gulf' due to transgender character
2 min read
07 December, 2021
The Hollywood Reporter said it had been told by 'regional sources' that the film had been banned because it features a transgender character.
West Side Story won't be shown in cinemas in several Gulf nations [Getty]

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have reportedly banned screenings of a Disney film because it features a transgender character.

The two Gulf nations refused to certify West Side Story, a Steven Spielberg film take on the original 1957 theatre production, The Hollywood Reporter said on Monday.

Neither country said why the film would no longer be shown.

The film news outlet said it had been told by "regional sources" that the ban was due to a character being written as transgender in Spielberg's take on the film.

The character, called Anybodys, is performed by actor Iris Menas, who is nonbinary.

Other Gulf countries have also allegedly come down on the film, asking Disney to remove scenes, according to the report.

The media giant refused to cut scenes, so Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE will allegedly not allow the film to be screened, The Hollywood Reporter said.

There has been no official word from the four countries about the claims.

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West Side Story had been scheduled to hit the big screen on Thursday and was visible on cinema company websites in the run-up to its scheduled release.

LGBTQ+ people face widespread criminalisation and discrimination in the Gulf and broader Middle East.

Films depicting LGBTQ+ characters, plots, or references are often censored.

Another Disney film, Eternals, was pulled from Gulf countries and Egypt in November.

It was the first Marvel film to feature a gay superhero, called Phastos.

Phastos kisses his husband in one scene of the film.