Airlines Under Fire For Cutting Lesbian Love Scene From In Flight Entertainment

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Airlines have been criticized for taking bits out of an inflight movie. Specifically, it involves a coming of age comedy called ‘Booksmart’, directed by Olivia Wilde. While many challenging issues were left in, many other seemingly innocent inclusions, including a lesbian sex scene, were removed. Emirates, Etihad and Delta are being criticized for the edit.

Emirates A380
At least three airlines are showing the edited version. Photo: Needpix

Airlines under fire for cutting lesbian scene

Some airlines have come under fire for apparently censoring a scene from the acclaimed 2019 film Booksmart. Directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, the film features a lesbian sex scene, something a handful of airlines are apparently not keen to show their passengers.

An astute passenger traveling on an unidentified flight took the opportunity to tweet to Wilde complaining that not even a kiss was allowed. While the airline was unnamed, follow up responses identified that the problem existed on Emirates, Etihad and Delta flights, at least.


The director responded saying that there was no nudity in the scene, and that she couldn’t fathom why it had been cut.


For those who haven’t see it, it reportedly involves two old friends getting drunk and making out in a bathroom, then having sex until one of the characters throws up. Personally, I would rather they cut the vomiting part out – particularly on a plane!

Sue Naegle, Chief Content Officer of Annapurna Pictures, told IndieWire,

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“We are deeply disappointed by the decision of Etihad Airways and others to remove a scene from ‘Booksmart’ that features two female characters kissing. We are proud of the original cut and want to reaffirm our support for inclusive storytelling.”

Cut by at least three airlines

The fact that Emirates and Etihad have cut the scene is not really surprising, given the cultural sensitivities of their home countries. But for forward-thinking, all-American Delta to cut the scene is a bit less easy to understand.

Delta Air Lines economy class
Delta also cut the scene. Photo: Delta

But it’s not just the fact it was cut that is bothering the cast and crew of the film, as Wilde identified as reported in Vulture. It’s more about what was cut, and indeed what wasn’t. Wilde claimed that the edits have a sexist bias, taking out discussions or depiction of the female body while leaving in scenes of males behaving lewdly. She said,

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“What we discovered is that on certain planes, this film has been edited in a very slanted manner. That there are certain words and certain scenes that are cut out, that aren’t the swear words … they removed the word “masturbation,” they removed the word “vagina.” So, I’m just curious what a woman is supposed to take from that. That it’s an obscenity. That it’s inappropriate. You can say [the F-word] But you can’t show the Barbie sequence when they take off their Barbie clothes and have Barbie boobs, which by design, have no genitals, which is the entire … point of the scene.”


Wilde and both lead actors of the film have vowed to get to the bottom of the censorship, to find out what logic was involved in what got removed and what didn’t. However, some passengers have come out in support of the airlines, saying it’s inappropriate to show these sorts of movies in aircraft cabins.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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