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Delta will restore gay love scenes to LGBT films after anger at censorship

Nick Duffy November 2, 2019
Taron Egerton acting as Sir Elton John in biopic Rocketman.

Taron Egerton and Elton John had spoken out against censoring of Rocketman. (Paramount Pictures)

Delta Air Lines has said it will change its procedures after it emerged that it was airing versions of LGBT+ films that gutted all same-sex romance.

The US airline has come under fire this week for showing “airline edits” of Elton John biopic Rocketman and high school drama Booksmart that removed scenes of same-sex romance.

The decision attracted anger from Booksmart director Olivia Wilde, who branded censorship “bats**t insane”, while Sir Elton John has previously hit out at attempts to straightwash Rocketman.

In a statement, Delta blamed an unnamed third-party company that provided an airline edit of the film.

Delta will restore same-sex love scenes to films

The company said it had now asked for a special “Delta edit” to be created of the two films that restores the same-sex love scenes,

A spokesperson said: “We are immediately putting a new process in place for managing content available through Delta’s in-flight entertainment.

“Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version.

“We selected the edited version and now realise content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films.

“We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Olivia Wilde comedy Booksmart had its content censored for an airline edit
Olivia Wilde comedy Booksmart had its content censored for an airline edit

The company pointed out that it had previously aired LGBT+ films including Moonlight on its flights.

Its decision comes after an initial statement had said the claims would be “reviewed.”

Delta said on Thursday: “Delta’s content parameters do not in any way ask for the removal of homosexual content from the film.

“We value diversity and inclusion as core to our culture and our mission and will review our processes to ensure edited video content doesn’t conflict with these values.”

LGBT content is often cut from films for international audiences

It’s far from the first time films with LGBT+ content have been gutted in the editing room to cater for international audiences.

Divisive Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhaposdy saw extensive edits for the film’s release across Asia, with direct references to homosexuality and scenes of cross-dressing largely omitted.

Gay sex scenes were also cut out of Elton John biopic Rocketman in Russia, leading to vocal protests from Sir Elton himself.

More: booksmart, delta, rocketman

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