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Delta criticized for deleting same-sex love scene from in-flight movie 'Carol'

Delta criticized for deleting same-sex love scene from in-flight movie 'Carol'
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in the Oscar-nominated film "Carol." Delta Air Lines showed an edited version of the film on its planes, sparking charges of homophobia. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

It's been a bad month for Delta Air Lines.

While passengers were cursing the nation's second largest carrier for a computer outage that grounded hundreds of flights this month, the Atlanta-based airline was also taking heat on social media for showing an in-flight movie that edited out a love scene between two women.

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"Shame on Delta," wrote a follower of the LGBTQ Nation Facebook page. "The LGBT community is here and here to stay. People need to get over their homophobia and grow up. There is absolutely no reason why LGBT displays of affection need to be censored."

The controversy, which was reported on several online sites, is over the 2015 romantic drama "Carol" starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara that centers on an affair between their characters. The film, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, is one of the hundreds of movies that was shown free recently on the airline's Delta Studio entertainment package.

The airline said it decided not to show the theatrical version of the film because the love scenes included some nudity.

"If we were worried about kissing we wouldn't be showing the film, but because there are scenes with more than a few seconds of nudity, we opted for the edited version instead of the theatrical version," the airline said in a statement.

In the past, when entertainment was shown on overhead screens to all passengers, airlines showed only family-friendly movies and TV shows. But the policies for onboard entertainment has become more complicated now that many airlines offer entertainment on individual seatback screens.

Delta said it offers movies with nudity on seatback screens but edits out scenes of nudity longer than a few seconds. United Airlines also offers edited versions of movies on its seatback screens. United warns passengers who want to watch unedited movies on their personal devices that other travelers might be watching.

American Airlines tries to choose non-edited theatrical versions of movies for the seatback screens "in order to maintain the full integrity of our titles," said American Airlines spokeswoman Sunny Rodriguez. But for R-rated movies, she said, the airline will display a warning before the films start "so passengers are aware of the type of content they're selecting."

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