Delta criticized for showing kiss-less lesbian film

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Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is coming under fire for showing a neutered version of “Carol,” an Oscar-nominated romantic drama about a lesbian love affair. 

The film being screened on Delta flights is an edited version that removed kisses between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, as well as scenes with brief nudity during a sex scene. Lesbian comedian Cameron Esposito complained about the edits on Wednesday after realizing the kiss went missing on the version she watched on a recent flight. Yet her seatmate was able to watch an episode of “Billions” that included Paul Giamatti and Maggie Siff engaging in a BDSM sex scene, Esposito said.




Delta responded and pushed the issue to the Weinstein Company, which provided the airline with two versions of the film – the unedited theatrical version and the edited version. Delta went with the edited version over concerns about the nudity. The kiss happened to be collateral damage, Delta spokesperson Liz Savadelis said in a statement to media outlets.

Via After Ellen:

“There were two versions of this film that the studio makes available–one that is edited and one that is not edited. The edited version removes two explicit scenes that do not meet our guidelines. The edited version also removes all kissing. The other version is fully non-edited and includes the kissing, but it also includes the explicit scenes.  Unfortunately, Delta doesn’t have the rights to edit the movie, or to make the decision to keep some of that content (e.g. kissing).

Because of the explicit scenes included in the non-edited version, we chose the edited version. This is consistent with what is available to all airlines.”

Savadelis made the same point in a second statement. Via Digiday:

“If we were worried about kissing we wouldn’t be showing the film,” she said. “But because there are scenes with more than a few seconds of nudity, we opted for the edited version instead of the theatrical version.”

Esposito's complaint isn't new. An After Ellen reader said she complained about the film's editing after a Delta flight in April and received this response from the airline.

On behalf of Delta Air Lines I apologize for your disappointment with our in-flight movie selection.

As you can imagine, choosing entertainment that meets all of our passengers’ needs is a tricky business. Although we try to show a variety of videos that have been edited for an airline audience, I’m sorry the edits for the movie “Carol” offended you. We are privileged to serve thousands of customers from around the world every day and as a result of our efforts to meet the needs of a diverse customer base, your comments were disheartening and taken very seriously. Please know it is never our policy to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or similar classification.

We know that our success as an airline heavily relies on how well we treat you. To be helpful, I’m forwarding your thoughts to our Airport and In-flight leadership teams for internal review. We’ve made positive updates before based on our customer’s feedback and Delta is committed to being the best airline in the world!

“Carol” writer Phyllis Nagy responded to the debate by tweeting that American and United showed the theatrical version of the film on flights. But United told Fox 8 that it didn't show the film at all, while American hasn't responded publicly.

Cinesky Pictures, which handled the distribution deal with airlines, dismissed complaints about the film editing. Via Fox 8:

The Weinstein Company handled the theatrical release of the film in the U.S., but the distribution deal with airlines was handled by Hanway Films and Cinesky Pictures. Cinesky said it was a “non-issue.”

“Any film over a rating of PG has standard edits for airline use. They include such topics as airline tragedies, inflight terrorism, language, excessive violence, sexual content, racial and religious slurs, etc.,” said a spokesperson from Cinesky Pictures. “There is nothing out of the ordinary in the global edit airline guidelines.”

But really. Even the teaser for the film includes a smooch. (Watch below)

Delta routinely scores highly on the HRC Corporate Equality Index, takes part in the Atlanta Pride parade and helps fight anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation at the Georgia Capitol.



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