Benedict Cumberbatch has criticised “repressive regimes” who ban films that include LGTBQ+ characters.
It comes after Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was banned in Saudi Arabia, allegedly over a 12-second scene where new character America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) references her “two mums”.
It follows Eternals being banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar due to a same-sex kiss scene.
‘It’s difficult not to become emotional about it, to be honest. But it is, I’m afraid, an expected disappointment,” Cumberbatch told the PA News Agency (via Metro).
‘We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be not only included but celebrated for who they are, and made to feel a part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality.’
He went on to say the ban ‘feels truly out of step with everything that we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we’re at globally as a culture,” and that including Chavez (who’s gay in the comics) “isn’t tokenism”.
“We’ve included her because of how awesome she is as a character. And (her sexuality is) just one aspect of her character. And that’s all it should be,” Cumberbatch added.
“We still have to fight, we still have to push for inclusion and equality and I’m very glad in a small way but on a very big canvas, Marvel and Disney are doing that.”
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Elizabeth Olsen, who stars opposite Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness as Wanda Maximoff, added: “I think it’s too bad for the fans that are in other countries and won’t be able to see and I hope that they find ways to see it.
“We’re not in control of that as actors, or even people higher up from us. So it’s definitely disappointing for fans, but I also am proud to be a part of a film that represents and stands for inclusion and diversity.”
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness releases later this week (May 5) and will apparently be “as successful” as Spider-Man: No Way Home