By Andrea Romano
November 01, 2019
"Booksmart" director Olivia Wilde (center) with actresses Kaitlyn Dever (left) and Beanie Feldstein
Getty Images

Booksmart director Olivia Wilde is taking airlines to task for allegedly overly censoring the in-flight films provided to its passengers — specifically when it comes to cutting the same-sex love scenes and LGBTQ subject matter in her film. 

“I finally had the chance to watch an edited version of Booksmart on a flight to see exactly what had been censored,” Wilde said in a lengthy Twitter thread this week. “Turns out some airlines work with a third party company that edits the movie based on what they deem inappropriate. Which, in our case, is ... female sexuality?”

She proceeded to list the instances of censorship on her film where the airline cut out a same-sex love scene that contained no nudity (but was an essential plot point), scenes in which the main characters watch porn, and either cut or muted words like “lesbian,” “genitals,” or “vagina,” as well as references to masturbation and urinary tract infections.

Wilde also pointed out some hypocrisy in editing the film in this way, pointing out that every curse word was left in, “loud and clear." She also encouraged airlines to stop working with third-party companies who seemingly selectively censor films offered to travelers.

While she didn't name a specific airline, — or a specific third party company that censors in-flight movies — a fan mentioned on Twitter that Delta Air Lines was a culprit in heavily censoring her film. 

When reached for comment by The Washington Post, Delta said, its “content parameters do not in any way ask for the removal of homosexual content from the film.”

“We value diversity and inclusion as core to our culture and our mission and will review our processes to ensure edited video content doesn’t conflict with these values,” Delta added, without mentioning the name of the company it uses for its in-flight entertainment. 

Booksmart hit theaters in May and has become a beloved film for its frank, positive, and sensitive portrayal of female sexuality on screen, particularly between the film’s main characters, Amy and Molly, played respectively by Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. 

Martin Chavez/Getty Images

Wilde also brought the issue up at an awards show on Sunday.

“There’s censorship, airline to airline, of films, which there must be some kind of governing board to determine. We rate it a certain way. If it’s not X-rated, surely it’s acceptable on an airplane,” she told Variety. “There’s insane violence of bodies being smashed in half and yet a love scene between two women is censored from the film. It’s such an integral part of this character’s journey. I don’t understand it. My heart just broke. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it; I want people to experience the entire film.”

But Booksmart is apparently not the only film allegedly being stridently censored when it comes to same-sex relationships. According to the The Post Delta customers also complained that several scenes from the Elton John biopic Rocketman were also censored, including sex scenes and even a simple, same-sex kiss.  

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