Walt Disney Company (The) (NYSE: DIS), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) – United Arab Emirates End Censorship on International Films, Update Rating System for Adult Content

The government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ending its policy of censoring international films by introducing a new rating classification that designates content as intended for adult audiences.

What Happened: The UAE Media Regulatory Bureau announcement to Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) that a new age category of 21 and over has been added to its movie content rating system.

“According to this classification, the international version of the films will be shown in theaters, with an emphasis on strict adherence to age rating standards for audience entry,” the agency tweeted.

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Why it happened: The UAE’s move follows media reports that five Arab countries have not allowed the publication of the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) “West Side Story” due to the inclusion of a transgender character played by trans actor Iris Mendas. IGN Middle East reported that UAE censors had delayed the release of another Disney title, “Eternals” because it included a homosexual couple and made many cuts MGM-United Artists releases “House of Gucci” because of the sexual content of this movie.

The UAE has increasingly sought to position itself as a more liberal and West-oriented nation. On December 8, the country adopted a 4.5-day work week and a Saturday-Sunday weekend, adhering to a Western work schedule while accommodating Friday prayers for its predominantly Muslim population.

The United Arab Emirates currently hosts Expo 2020, a World Expo in Dubai which attracted the participation of 192 countries under the banner of “Connect Minds and Create the Future”.

Photo: Actress Iris Mendas as Anybodys, the transgender character who pushed the UAE government to block the release of “West Side Story” Photo courtesy of Disney.

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Darcy J. Skinner