Back in 2016, Delta Air Lines came under fire for screening a version of the Oscar-nominated film Carol for passengers in its in-flight entertainment program which deleted kisses between Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Now, Delta has done it again with the recent Elton John biopic Rocketman and the Olivia Wilde-directed film Booksmart.
Entertainment Weekly’s digital director Shana Krochmal was one of the passengers who pointed out the Rocketman censorship. The film left in an assault between John Reid and Elton but removed all intimacy between them.
Wrote Krochmal: “On @Delta today discovered that #Rocketman is stripped of almost every gay reference or scene that @eltonofficial fought to keep in the film’s mainstream release, including a simple chaste kiss. This is good context but it’s still frustrating. As @yayponies pointed out in a very justified rant, what does it say that the edit left in a scene of John Reid assaulting Elton but removed any evidence of intimacy between them or for that matter Elton and any man? What is that saying is OK?”
The Washington Post reports: “Near the end of the 2019 film ‘Booksmart,’ a tense bathroom kiss between Amy, the film’s timid, justice-minded lead, and Hope, her high school’s ‘basic hot girl,’ turns into more: Hidden from a house party outside, they engage in a hookup that’s been hailed as an unusually frank, on-screen portrayal of sex between two women. But Watch ‘Booksmart’ on a Delta Air Lines flight, and the R-rated high school comedy will skip right through that scene. Reportedly, the in-flight cut also passes over the words ‘vagina’ and ‘genitals,’ an exchange about a lesbian sex act, talk of a urinary tract infection, and a bit in which Amy and her friend watch porn in the back of a ride-share.’
Variety reports: “A spokesperson for Delta told Variety that the airline works with studios and a third-party editing company, which provides its own edit of the movie, as well as the unedited version. If anything in the unedited version of the movie does not meet Delta’s guidelines, then Delta runs the third party’s edit of the film, regardless of whether further aspects of the film that don’t violate Delta’s guidelines have also been removed. Delta declined to provide the airline’s standards and guidelines for in-flight movies, and the spokesperson said he was not aware what part of the unedited version of ‘Booksmart’ did not meet Delta’s guidelines.”
The company released a statement: “Delta’s 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.”