It’s the first same-sex kiss in the entire history of the “Star Wars” franchise. But it has been described by reviewers as merely a “brief flash of two women kissing” in a crowd.
Singapore’s media regulatory body told the BBC that Disney eliminated the scene in order to obtain a PG-13 rating for the movie. That rating means that parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13.
“The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the film classification guidelines would require a higher rating,” a representative of Singapore’s media regulator, Infocomm Media Development Authority, also told The Guardian.
The next-higher rating, NC-16, would have barred children under 16 from seeing the movie in theaters, reported The New York Times. But it wasn’t precisely clear what the rating would have been had the scene not been cut. It’s also not clear if the same-sex kiss has been cut from the film in other countries.
Singaporean censorship guidelines state that films containing LGBTQ themes or content as a subplot may be restricted to viewers aged 18 and above, while films focusing on homosexuality may be tagged with a rating for those 21 and older, according to the Guardian. On-screen kisses between men and women, however, are frequently seen in movies in Singapore.
Disney has not responded to various media requests for comment.
Singapore does not recognize same-sex marriage, and sex between men is a crime, punishable by up to two years in prison, though the law is seldom enforced. There’s nothing in the law about sex between women, The Guardian notes. There are no protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Singapore’s media authority states that “information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, pedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorize such lifestyles.”
Film director J.J. Abrams had hinted at a same-sex scene in an interview with Variety before ‘Skywalker’ was released. “In the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film,” he said. But the scene was criticized as a “blink-and-you-miss-it” disappointment.