Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia and possibly Kuwait due to its inclusion of a gay character.
As reported by THR, Middle East sources have said the decision was due to Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez, who is gay in the film and in the comics she first appeared in. Homosexuality is illegal across the Gulf and movies that have LGBTQ issues or references have a hard time making it to theaters.
Advanced tickets can no longer be purchased in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar, but they appear to still be available for purchase in the United Arab Emirates.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness won’t be the first film to experience a ban of this nature, as Marvel’s Eternals was also banned in Saudi Arabia as it featured a same-gender couple and the MCU’s first gay superhero in Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos.
Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story also was banned in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait due to the character Anybodys, who was written as transgender in the film and was played by nonbinary actress Iris Menas.