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

There’s something of a social media firestorm over the way that the 2015 film Carol is being shown on Delta’s inflight entertainment system.

The critically acclaimed movie is about an affair between a young female photographer and an older woman in the midst of a divorce. It’s set in New York City and stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Delta has shown it inflight, but some people are asking,

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?

Mediaite complains that “Delta has said nothing publicly about why they would choose to edit two women kissing but not edit more explicit hetero scenes in other films.”

Except: Delta doesn’t do the editing and they have responded to this.

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).

Now there are sometimes specially-edited versions of films for airlines though that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Talk of air crashes may be edited out for some carriers. Some references to American Airlines were removed from the version of Up in the Air I watched inflight on a different airline several years ago.

This does raise the question about editing of films generally, and what really needs to be removed for general audiences, what sorts of ‘trigger warnings’ (for instance.. ‘motion picture ratings’) are necessary, and whether standards that are being applied are outdated.

To the extent that Delta opts for the ‘edited’ versions of films there’s going to be plenty for a film critic — or passenger critic — to complain about in the edit. Unlike Singapore Airlines, though, Delta flight attendants aren’t scouring the world’s film festivals to personally select what goes in your flight’s entertainment system.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I think you’ll find it is the straight men who are titalated by any lesbian activity in film.

  2. The “Why do you ask?” tag on the subject line here is ridiculous. We ask because it’s important to know if these things are being censored because airlines can’t handle homophobia or if there’s something else going on. Every time you have a “Why do you ask?” tag on your subject lines, it makes me not want to read your story because you are either being deliberately obtuse, writing clickbait subject lines, or intentionally invalidating real concerns.

  3. I’ve seen edited films on airplanes that I’ll recommend to people only to find out that there is a bunch of really disgusting junk the the unedited version. I like that airlines show edited versions. Not to protect me but to protect those around me that might oversee it. It reminds me of my question of why would a book store at the airport sell penthouse magazine. Like I’m going to buy it and leisurely flip through sitting next to a child, nun, parent, coworker etc. On the airplane.

  4. I have found some of American Airline’s edits to be very funny. In the Melissa McCarthy movie Spy, there is a scene where she goes to Rome and it shows a LAN plane landing at FCO when she arrives. American has blurred out the name of the plane in the movie, and I still can’t figure out why, unless it was so people don’t realize that other airlines exist? (Because let’s face it, once people realize there are other airlines out there they won’t want to fly with American anymore….)

  5. @Karolyn ‘why do you ask’ is meant to underscore that the answer isn’t just no, it’s obviously no, despite social media fuss to the contrary.

    I understand why someone would be concerned if it was true! But they shouldn’t believe it’s true, for pretty basic reasons.

  6. Why I don’t rent from Hertz ?
    1. On September 24, I made a car rental reservation for a Mercedes C from Hertz for October 17 thru October 21.
    2. On October 17 I came to pick up the car, and after an hour of waiting in line, I was told that the car I ordered (Mercedes C) was not available.
    3. I was sent to the parking garage and was told to pick up a different car. The parking garage was dark and the car was parked tightly between two other cars. The car was covered in dirt, but since I had already waited for over an hour to get the car I took it.
    4. I drove the car outside the lot and did not like the way it drove. I immediately made a U-turn and went back to return the car.
    5. My total time driving the car was approximately 5 minutes and I drove approximately 1 mile.
    6. When I came back to tell the attendant that I didn’t like the car, the attendant took a flashlight and started checking the wheels. He removed dirt from the wheels, and then showed me scratches that had been under the dirt on all four wheels.
    7. I pointed out to the attendant that I drove the car for 5 minutes and approximately 1 mile and he told me not to worry about it and just to write on his report that I dispute being at fault for any scratches on the wheels of the car. I did dispute being at fault for the damage on his report.
    8. I went to the front desk to talk to the woman who was working there, and asked to speak to the manager. I waited for over an hour and still could not reach the manager.
    9. I got a new car and left after being assured by the front desk person that I would not be charged for the scratches on the wheels of the car.
    I dispute the claim that I caused any damage to the car.
    I dispute the total amount of $942.92 claimed by Hertz.

  7. Even though Delta didn’t edit the film to take out all the kissing–someone did and probably because of the type of kissing. I think it’s extremely valid for someone to be concerned over this.

    The “edited” version of Sex Tape on the American IFE still had a lot of shots of the protagonists almost nude (as in, things were blocking the full view of their nude body). The kissing scenes were certainly in and then some.

    Why do two women kissing need to be taken out of the edited version?

  8. I thinks its weird that everyone amiably agreeing with gay acceptance without Amy recognition that about 40% still think it’s a taboo worse than murder and are waiting for a chance (Trump?) to push it back im the closet. Just look at the NYT compilation video showing protestors being showered with “fag” and the redneck baboon who yelled “They got what they deserved” about Orlando. Even if the GOP built on gay hate collapses, the haters remain and fester as they have ever since refusing redemption over slavery to double down on race hate. Therese are the most reviled people on earth, your American rednecks.

  9. I seldom (make that almost never) watch films when flying – OK, maybe a well done animated one hold my attention for a while.

    When is the next film starring the minions scheduled for a trans pacific flight?

  10. I call bullsh*t. I remember seeing a tv show about how different airlines of the world edit different things due to local cultural tolerance of specific issues.

    Some regions are more ok with violence where others find scenes of sexual nature to be offensive.

    My understanding is that the choice can be made as to what needs editing…

  11. Well, except for the fact that American and United are both playing the non-edited version, suggesting it is appropriate for the U.S. aviation market at large. Just, apparently, not Delta passengers.

  12. So is Delta going to throw off two women kissing on their airplanes? I have seen the film, there is no below the waist stuff. Is there innuendo? Yup! Topless fondling and kissing yes. But this movie isn’t played on overhead monitors. Delta made a decision and needs to owe up to that decision. Delta cannot say that we as a company are LGBTQ supporters and then chose to edit their lives. There is far racier and violent films on Delta. Also, I viewed “Carol” on KLM, no sensoring. Delta’s partners aren’t sensoring the film, so why is Delta? “Carol” is a good film, definitely worthy of anyone watching. The acting is awesome. Everything about the film is praiseworthy!

  13. If Delta plays “Personal Best” (1982) in their classic genre, but doesn’t edit out THAT SCENE, there may be many males arrested upon landing.

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