Yes, Editing Two Women Kissing Out of a Movie is Problematic

The movie Carol is being shown on Delta’s IFE.  The storyline involves an affair between two women, and it’s pretty groundbreaking.

There’s been a lot of controversy over Delta’s version of the movie.  The kissing scenes (along with some more explicit scenes) were cut out of the movie for Delta’s version of the IFE.


People have (incorrectly) blamed Delta.

From MediaITE:

Carol totally slayed the awards circuit last year. It won the Queer Palmat Cannes in 2015, too, so that should be a pretty good indicator that the LGBT themes are a driving force in the movie. The honest depiction of lesbian love spawned so many think pieces and was widely hailed as being groundbreaking, important, and well done. So if the movie is about lesbians, won awards specifically for its queer elements, and is famous enough to be recognized by a hefty portion of passengers, why did Delta get rid of all the scenes that show the protagonists kissing?

View from the Wing correctly points out that Delta wasn’t the one to edit out this scene.  The company they got the movie from edited it out and they have no say over what is included in the movies they receive.

Delta Airlines, in fact, is a very friendly airlines to LGTBQ.

From their own website:


For many years, we have teamed up with some of the largest regional Pride events around the world as corporate sponsor and, more importantly, enthusiastic participants. You’ll see us walking in NYC Pride, LA Pride, Utah Pride Festival, Motor City Pride, Seattle PrideFest, Twin Cities Pride, Atlanta Pride, and Pride Toronto, among other festivals. But Pride is just one of the many events we’re involved with every year to show our love.

For more than 10 years, we have supported Gay Men’s Health Crisis and were honored to be recognized for our ongoing commitment. Each year we are a key sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards, and we are a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association as a Platinum partner. We’re also a sponsor of GNETWORK 360 in Argentina and the Brazilian Association for GLS Tourism (ABRAT GLS).

They have great internal policies for employees and have actively advocated for marriage equality.

So I don’t want Delta to take the blame for this.

However, View from the Wing’s title is a bit flippant on this subject:

No Delta Isn’t Censoring Lesbian Kissing Out of Inflight Entertainment, Why Do You Ask?

While Delta isn’t to blame, some sort of organization is.  And it is problematic that two women kissing is seen as too obscene to be on the screen.  Especially when the movie being shown is about two women in a relationship with each other.

Women in a relationship kiss each other.  And it isn’t any more obscene than any other two people in a couple kissing.

carol the kiss

The rules for editing an IFE are pretty strict.  The general rule is:

When it comes to the editing of in-flight movies, the rule that content providers  apply is “when in doubt, leave it out.”

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I’ve seen the Hangover on my IFE.  I’ve seen Old School.  I’ve seen the movie Sex Tape.  And while the movies were edited, there were still some pretty controversial scenes.

And I’ve definitely seen people kissing on airplanes–both on the TV and in person.

I’m not against the more explicit scenes being cut out.  What is concerning about this is that two women kissing apparently still fall into the category of “when in doubt, leave it out.”

Gary from View from the Wing is right.  This isn’t Delta’s doing.  But it is still someone’s doing.  And that’s problematic.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Dumb dumb dumb. From a pure marketing point, as a hetero male more of these scenes might sell more tickets:)

  2. I wonder how Brokeback Mountain fared after editing?

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