Delta says will restore same-sex love scenes in ‘Booksmart’ and ‘Rocketman’ after criticism


Leslie Josephs | CNBC

Delta Air Lines is restoring same-sex love scenes in two films after outrage on social media, including from Olivia Wilde, the director of the 2019 comedy ‘Booksmart’, one of the movies. 

Delta and other airlines source films from third-party companies that edit and distribute various versions of films for in-flight viewing. The Atlanta-based airline said studios provide the theatrical version and an edited version of many films and that it selected edited versions of both “Booksmart” and Elton John biopic “Rocketman.”

“We are immediately putting a new process in place for managing content available through Delta’s in-flight entertainment,” the airline said in statement. “We selected the edited version and now realize content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films. We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Delta touts its seat-back screens as a selling point for travelers. The airline continues to use these screens while some competitors like American and United have opted to eschew seat-back screens on narrow-body planes and offer films and television shows available for viewing on passengers’ personal devices through the carriers’ apps.

Airlines receive films from their third-party content providers that work with studios on various versions. Spafax, a unit of British advertising giant WPP, works with Delta. Industry sources have said airlines’ film guidelines vary greatly, with airlines such as state-owned Saudia Airlines among the strictest.

Delta said it plans to receive new edits of the films “that retains the LGBTQ+ love scenes in both Booksmart and Rocketman that will be on our flights as soon as possible.”

It is not the first time Delta has been under fire for edits to same-sex love scenes in its on-board movies. In 2016, customers criticized the airline for showing an edited version of the 2016 movie “Carol.”

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