Recently Delta Airlines became the center of controversy after it was revealed that the airline was censoring in-flight movies with LGBTQ themes, most notably romantic or sexual situations. Two specific movies that the airline censored were the teen comedy Booksmart and the Elton John biopic Rocketman.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the issue first gained major attention after Olivia Wilde, the director of Booksmart, tweeted that she had just seen an edited version of her own movie on a flight. Wilde explained on Twitter that the airline, which she did not directly mention by name, worked with a third party to recut the movie and make it more “appropriate” for passengers. Among the many things censored in the onboard version of Booksmart was a love scene between two female characters that did not contain nudity or anything particularly raunchy. Apparently the only reason this scene was even removed was that it depicted a lesbian romance. Another movie affected by Delta’s censorship was Rocketman, already a victim of censorship in other film markets, which removed a sex scene between two consenting legal adult men.
These controversies have led to Delta addressing the criticism by releasing this statement: “Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version. We selected the edited version and now realize content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films. We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Delta Airlines spokesperson Adrian Gee also mentioned that the airline has included uncensored versions of LGBTQ movies like Moonlighting as part of previous onboard entertainment and do not try to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Gee went on to state that the airline would be replacing these versions of Booksmart and Rocketman on future flights, but it is currently unknown when exactly the changes will be made.