If your latest in-flight movie binge felt a little off, it’s not your imagination. Delta Air Lines has apparently been screening edited versions of movies Booksmart and Rocketman, in which same-sex love scenes were cut out and the words “vagina,” “genitals,” and “lesbian” muted or removed. Delta has claimed that the films were edited by a third party, and issued a statement saying that it was not aware of the specific edits and did not request them. “We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said the airline.
Booksmart director Olivia Wilde watched the movie on a Delta flight and tweeted about her disappointment: “They didn’t cut ANY cursing. Every ‘fuck’ is heard loud and clear, sometimes in the same scene where they muted ‘vagina.’” She continued to explain that this censoring process erased scenes that were essential to the movie, “They cut most of Amy and Hope’s love scene in the bathroom, which involves zero nudity, but does involve an essential plot point for a lead character.”
Editing isn’t uncommon for in-flight movies, though Delta claims these films met its criteria and should not have been altered. “Currently,” said the airline, “we have Gentleman Jack, Imagine Me and You, and Moonlight onboard and countless content in the past that clearly shows it is not our practice to omit LGBTQ+ love scenes.”
According to Delta, new versions of the movies, without the omissions, will soon be shown on future flights. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde said she urges “every airline, especially those who pride themselves on inclusivity, to stop working with this third party company, and trust the parental advisory warning to allow viewers to opt out if they choose.”