Last year was a very big year for those in the LGBT community. In the United States, not only did gay men and women finally gain the right to marry one another, but they are finally starting to get more representation in media. One of the leading examples of this was Carol, an Oscar nominated film in which Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara have a lesbian relationship with one another. It looks like Delta Airlines isn't totally comfortable with that idea, as they have been showing a censored version of the movie.
Recently, outwardly gay comedian Cameron Esposito took to her Twitter account to display her distaste for Delta Airlines, who is showing a version of Carol that takes out all of the girl-on-girl kissing, and any scenes of intimacy between them. Esposito noted that the person next to her on the same flight was watching a movie starring Paul Giamatti, in which he was practicing BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism) with a woman. Esposito also noted that other "queer gals" watched the movie on Delta, and didn't even realize that the main characters did kiss in the theatrical cut of the movie. Musician Mary Lambert responded to Esposito, having not realized that Delta was showing an edited version of Carol.
"Wait WHAT!? I saw it on a Delta flight and thought that the director/producer chose that creatively. I was like "oh wow crazy sexual tension with no release- poor gay ladies" BUT COME ON. Crazy."
The writer of CarolPhyllis Nagy took to Twitter to reveal that not every airline decided to show an edited version of the movie. According to Nagy, American Airlines and United Airlines both decided to show unedited versions of the movie on their flights. The confusion displayed by Lambert and Esposito makes sense, given that the entire plot of the movie centers on a relationship between two women. Yet the version of Carol that Delta and other airlines are reportedly showing displays no physical intimacy whatsoever.
As for why Delta Airlines decided to censor Carol? That isn't a total mystery, even if their answer may not be overly satisfying to those who may be offended by the censorship. The website AfterEllen reached out to Delta Airlines in regards to the matter, and their Corporate Communications representative Liz Savadelis responded. Here is what she had to say.
"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."
That answer is somewhat logical, but given that American and United decided to show the un-edited version of the movie, it probably isn't an overly satisfying answer. Carol has received a lot of critical praise and was nominated for a ton of awards last year, including six Academy Awards. Both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara were nominated for their performances, and the movie was also nominated for its cinematography and screenplay. There is no word from Delta as to if they will start showing the un-edited version of the movie in the future, given the outcry, but that doesn't seem likely based on their statement.