Angelina Jolie Responds To Eternals LGBTQ+ Censorship Controversy

After news broke that Marvel’s newest superhero flick Eternals was banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, Angelina Jolie blasted the move by foreign censors as ”ignorant.”

Jolie plays the warrior Thena in the film directed by Chloe Zhao. In an interview with News.com Jolie says, “I still don’t understand how we live in a world today where there’s still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love.” 

Homosexuality is criminalized in the affected Gulf countries, though the film is still planned to release in the United Arab Emirates where homosexuality is met with capital punishment. In Russia, the film received an R-rating for its gay representation.

The scene at the center of the controversy occurs between Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman). The couple has a kid and, per The Hollywood Reporter, share a “passionate” kiss.

“How anybody is angry about it, threatened by it, doesn’t approve or appreciate it is ignorant.”

Of course, Marvel movies have had queer characters before—like that guy in Avengers: Endgame and, retroactively, Loki. But Eternals is the first of Marvel Studios’ 26 films to actually portray queerness on the screen, prompting the backlash from censors.

Jolie applauded the Disney-owned Marvel for “refusing to cut those scenes out.”

While the move by state censors is unfortunate, it’s also worth looking back at Marvel. Before now, U.S. audiences also didn’t see any representation on screen because the studio wasn’t making it.

Eternals releases in U.S. theaters today.