Watch: 'Lightyear' Lesbian Kiss Almost Didn't Fly for this Oklahoma Theater

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 23, 2022

Character Buzz Lightyear stands near the entrance to the Aliens Swirling Saucers ride at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.
Character Buzz Lightyear stands near the entrance to the Aliens Swirling Saucers ride at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.  (Source:Source:AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

It's 2022, but even now there are spots where LGBTQ+ representation doesn't fly. A kiss between two married women in Disney's "Lightyear" was not OK with one small-town Oklahoma theater.

The 89er Theater in the town of Kingfisher, OK, posted a sign warning patrons about the same-sex smooch and promising to try to "fast forward" through the fleeting moment, NBC News reported.

"Attention Parents: The management of this theatre discovered after booking 'Lightyear' that there is a same-sex kissing scene within the first 30 minutes of the Pixar movie," the sign, which was taped up in a window, read. "We will do all we can to fast-forward through that scene, but it might not be exact."

When outrage erupted in the community around the sign, the "fast forward" strategy didn't have to be exact; it didn't happen at all.

One local, Patricia Kasbek, told NBC that she called the theater to register a complaint about the sign, only for her call to go to voicemail. That didn't stop her from cluing the management in about her opinion regarding the move.

"I told them that it was completely insulting for them to censor a same-gender kiss when they've never done this to an opposite-gender kiss," Kasbek told the news outlet.

Kasbek said that the move was "cruel" and "bigoted," NBC News reported. "I will never see a movie at this theater while under this ownership."

NBC noted that the sign, which had been posted over the weekend, was gone by day's end come Monday. The theater's plans to "fast forward" though the moment of marital affection were canceled. The Washington Post reported on June 22 that the theater reversed course, showing the film as it was intended. (Story is behind a paywall.)

The Post referenced a report from local ABC affiliate KOCO, which quoted one mother, Jill Stuever, who took her children to the film. Stuever said that the kiss was "no big deal" and was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in any case.

"It was like two seconds," Stuever said. "Maybe like one second if you were really paying attention."

"I thought it was fine," said another viewer, Lili Giles. "I'm fine with all kinds of different families."

The Post detailed that the scene — which indeed literally lasts only two seconds — "shows the character voiced by Uzo Aduba, Cmdr. Alisha Hawthorne, kiss her wife, Kiko, marking the first time there has been a same-sex kiss in a Pixar feature".

The article said it was a milestone that lead actor Chris Evans, who voices Buzz Lightyear, called "overdue." Evans has spoken out before about the homophobic censorship aimed at the film.

"It's an excellent sign of the times that things are moving in the right direction," Evans told the Washington Post, "but you can't help but feel like there's bitter aftertaste acknowledging the fact it is even worthy of discussion."

It's not just Oklahoma where the kiss prompted censorship. "Lightyear" has been banned in the United Arab Emirates and across the Muslim world because of the kiss.

Disney — which originally cut the moment, but reinstated it when employees grew critical of the company's delayed response to Florida lawmakers' push to enact that state's so-called "Don't Say Gay Law" — has refused to back down, leaving the moment intact.

To watch the KOCO news clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.