Benedict Cumberbatch said it was an “expected disappointment” that his new ‘Doctor Strange’ film won’t be shown in Saudi Arabia because of LGBTQ references.
The actor has criticized “repressive regimes” for their “lack of tolerance” and said it was a testament to the importance of including characters from diverse backgrounds.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness introduces the comic book character America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, who is gay.
Homosexuality is illegal throughout the Gulf, and LGBTQ-related films often face censorship.
Cumberbatch told the PA news agency: “It’s difficult not to get emotional to be honest. But it’s an expected disappointment, I’m afraid.
“We know from these repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance excludes people who deserve not only to be included, but to be celebrated for who they are and to feel part of a society and a culture, and not punished for it to become their sexuality.
“It really doesn’t feel consistent with everything we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we are as a culture globally.
“But honestly, including a member of the LGBTQ+ community is just another reason why this isn’t tokenism.
video of the day
“This character is from the comics, we didn’t create it for diversity. We included her because she’s such a great character. And that’s just one aspect of her character. And that’s all it should be.
“But unfortunately it’s also very politically charged now, and I wish it wasn’t, I wish it was … a normalized conversation about where it wasn’t an issue, but it’s not like we still have to fight, we.” We still have to push for inclusion and equality, and I’m very happy on a small scale, but on a very big screen, Marvel and Disney are doing that.”
His co-star Elizabeth Olsen added, “America Chavez is a character that appears in the comics and so, quite frankly, we only represent the comics and we represent inclusion.
“I think it’s too bad for the fans who are in other countries and won’t be able to see it and I hope they find ways to see it.
“We as actors have no control over that, or even people higher up than us. So it’s definitely disappointing for the fans, but I’m also proud to be part of a film that represents and stands for inclusion and diversity.”
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness hits UK cinemas on May 5th.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/cumberbatch-saudi-response-to-doctor-strange-is-expected-disappointment-41589910.html Cumberbatch: Disappointment awaited in Saudi response to Doctor Strange