Some airlines are showing edited versions of “Carol” with zero same-sex kissing

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There are people in the world that have seen a version of the award-winning lesbian-themed film Carol and think Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara never kiss.

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In-flight versions of Carol  shown on Delta Airlines (and possibly others as well) have edited out every bit of physical intimacy between the two female stars while leaving in heterosexual kisses and affection. This was brought to our attention on Twitter last night from out comic Cameron Esposito, who watched the film on her flight and was upset about the censorship.


Sadly, Cameron was not alone.

An AfterEllen reader who wished to remain anonymous complained about this back in April and received this in response:

On behalf of Delta Air Lines I apologize for your disappointment with our in-flight movie selection.

As you can imagine, choosing entertainment that meets all of our passengers’ needs is a tricky business. Although we try to show a variety of videos that have been edited for an airline audience, I’m sorry the edits for the movie “Carol” offended you. We are privileged to serve thousands of customers from around the world every day and as a result of our efforts to meet the needs of a diverse customer base, your comments were disheartening and taken very seriously. Please know it is never our policy to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or similar classification.

We know that our success as an airline heavily relies on how well we treat you. To be helpful, I’m forwarding your thoughts to our Airport and In-flight leadership teams for internal review. We’ve made positive updates before based on our customer’s feedback and Delta is committed to being the best airline in the world!

Carol writer Phyllis Nagy chimed in to let us know that there were other domestic airlines that chose un-edited versions:

When reached for comment, Delta Airlines’ Corporate Communications representative Liz Savadelis tells us:

“There were two versions of this film that the studio makes available–one that is edited and one that is not edited. The edited version removes two explicit scenes that do not meet our guidelines. The edited version also removes all kissing. The other version is fully non-edited and includes the kissing, but it also includes the explicit scenes.  Unfortunately, Delta doesn’t have the rights to edit the movie, or to make the decision to keep some of that content (e.g. kissing).

Because of the explicit scenes included in the non-edited version, we chose the edited version. This is consistent with what is available to all airlines.”

The studio in question, The Weinstein Company, has not responded to request for comment, but it’s peculiar that they would edit out every instance of physical intimacy between the women and not just the one fairly non-explicit and short sex scene. That kind of censorship is more worrisome, considering several queer women seemed to have only viewed Carol in-flight and assumed that there was never any payoff for the Carol/Therese relationship.

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Editing of in-flight movies is nothing new, but if same-sex kisses are considered inappropriate, then are airlines such as Delta who profess to be LGBT-friendly the allies they claim to be? Moreover, are the studios who we praise for bringing us the film in the first place? It seems they all share the blame with the greater global entertainment industry that is concerned more with making money in areas of the world that criminalize homosexuality or deem it indecent than catering to those who are looking to see themselves represented on-screen; some of whom may only have the opportunity from the safety of a flight where they don’t know anyone sitting around them and feel a kind of privacy that may be unavailable to them elsewhere.

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