Olivia Wilde, ‘Booksmart’ Cast Calls Out Delta Airlines for Homophobic Censorship

     October 28, 2019

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We’ve all had this experience: You’re on a plane, scrolling through the movies available to watch. You choose an R-rated one. And you scoff and smirk at the insane ways they censor any objectionable content in case the person stuffed in the tiny seat next to you doesn’t want to see someone get their brains blown off or say the F word. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, recently hit the “can watch on a plane now” circuit. It’s a hard-R comedy about two teens going through one crazy night. It makes sense that certain aspects would be censored. But on a Delta Airlines flight, some passengers noticed that elements of Kaitlyn Dever’s character’s journey were edited out. Specifically, elements that dealt with her queer identity. And when Wilde and her cast found out, they had some thoughts. *Note: Some light Booksmart spoilers are ahead.*

One scene fully censored from the film involves an alternatingly tender/awkward hookup scene between Dever and Diana Silvers’ character. While it might make sense to remove any overtly sexual imagery from this moment, film journalist Michaela Barton tweeted that Delta even removed a kiss between the two — despite keeping heterosexual kisses in the film intact. “There’s insane violence of bodies being smashed in half and yet a love scene between two women is censored from the film,” Wilde told Variety when asked about the censorship. Her point is absolutely valid — I personally have watched edited-for-public-broadcast versions of films I’ve seen before where violent carnage ensues without bowdlerization, but moments of love and nudity are removed. “It’s such an integral part of this character’s journey,” continued Wilde. I don’t understand it. My heart just broke. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it; I want people to experience the entire film.”

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Image via United Artists Releasing

While Wilde had previously heard about Delta’s decision through Twitter, Dever herself found out about it for the first time when asked by Variety. Her response was simple: “I don’t even know what to say to that. That makes me so mad.” Also so mad? Dever’s co-star, Beanie Feldstein. “We’re on the case to get this rectified,” she promised. “Our movie is a beautiful representation of the queer experience as young people. I’m a queer person. So we’re getting to the bottom of it, don’t worry. If you can watch me and Skyler [Gisondo] kiss, you can watch Diana [Silvers] and Kaitlyn kiss.” In a final piece of “Delta is really acting a fool” evidence of this whole story, Twitter user @peachyfxkinkeen brought it to Wilde’s attention that Delta didn’t just remove physical contact between lesbians. They actually censored the word “lesbian.” Wilde’s response? “Censoring the word lesbian is just batshit insane.”

To see the batshit insane news for yourself, the initial tweets are below. For more on Booksmart, check out the news about Wilde and Booksmart screenwriter Katie Silberman’s upcoming holiday film.

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