Delta Airline formally apologized recently after it was revealed that LGBTQ+ scenes were edited out of films shown on flights. According to a November 1 statement released by the airline, third party editing service are responsible for providing the films and that the edited films play on flight.
Films such as Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart muted words such as vagina, genitals and erased the love scene between two queer girls while allowing curse words to be audibly heard in the same sentence as the muted word.
I finally had the chance to watch an edited version of Booksmart on a flight to see exactly what had been censored. Turns out some airlines work with a third party company that edits the movie based on what they deem inappropriate. Which, in our case, is … female sexuality? 🤔
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) October 30, 2019
Another censored film was the biopic Rocketman which apparently muted gay references to Elton John and a kiss scene with the film accused previously of straightwashing the famed singer. Yet, a violent assault scene was shown in its entirety as noted by commentators of the scandal.
Looks like "Booksmart" wasn't the only film @Delta reportedly censored. The fact that "Rocketman," already criticized by some for straightwashing, was subject to further #LGBTQ #censorship is deeply concerning.
— Woodhull Foundation (@WoodhullSFA) November 1, 2019
This isn’t the first time queer films have been censored on airlines. In 2016, Delta came under fire for censoring multiple same sex kisses in acclaimed lesbian film Carol.
The airline company insists that its company message allows and accepts LGBTQ+ individuality in films and has spoken with their third party vendors and released the unedited versions of Booksmart and Rocketman.
This experience with Delta airlines and it’s history to not include LGBTQ+ films in its in-flight entertainment highlights a larger problem of not including LGBTQ representation in film.
Delta Airlines released a statement that, “Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version. 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.”
Critics on Delta’s censorship of film stated that Delta needs to be more progressive and has to show that they are on the sides of LGBTQ+ members.
“[W]e are nearing the end of the year 2019, and people are still uncomfortable when two consenting adults kiss or show any kind of affection, simply because they happen to be LGBTQ. This is where we are. Still.” RVA Magazine, a cultures site stated in an Op-Ed.
“Every day, incidents like this remind us that we still have to prove ourselves legitimate in the eyes of some. Until things like Elton John kissing his husband, or two teen girls holding hands, become normalized to the point that no one cares anymore, there is still going to be ground to cover in the fight for LGBTQ rights.” RVA continued.
Although some scenes were a bit more explicit than that in the Rocketman film than a gay couple, Rocketman and Booksmart are films for queer audiences and editing certain scenes, damaging character development and plotlines, ignoring identities because they are not LGBTQ+ is unacceptable.
Fortunately, Delta Airlines recognized that and has tried to restore the un-edited films. Olivia Wilde released a tweet thanking Delta on the change and the change in LGBT+ films on Delta has sparked a conversation.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) November 2, 2019
Picture Source: Pixabay