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Delta Air Lines accused of cutting gay scenes from Elton John’s Rocketman

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman
Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman

An aircraft passenger has accused Delta Air Lines of removing the majority of gay references from the hit Elton John (opens in new tab) biopic Rocketman (opens in new tab).

Entertainment Weekly’s digital director Shana Krochmal says she was onboard a flight on Wednesday when she noticed that several scenes had been cut and later voiced her anger on Twitter.

Krochmal said: “On Delta today, I discovered that Rocketman is stripped of almost every gay reference or scene that Elton John fought to keep in the film’s mainstream release – including a simple chaste kiss.

“What does it say that the edit left in a scene of John Reid assaulting Elton but removed any evidence of intimacy between them or for that matter Elton and any man? What is that saying is OK?

“I am about 99% sure I saw a fully uncensored R-rated version on Air Canada earlier this year, by the way, which was also the norm for R-rated films on Virgin America.

“And, given how many passengers watch whatever they want on tablets or phones often in full view of other travellers, this seems especially egregious.”

A Delta spokesperson has since responded in a statement to PinkNews (opens in new tab) saying: “Delta’s content parameters do not in any way ask for the removal of homosexual content from the film.

“We value diversity and inclusion as core to our culture and our mission and will review our processes to ensure edited video content doesn’t conflict with these values.”

According to The Advocate (opens in new tab), Delta told them in 2017 that they don’t edit in-flight entertainment and instead show versions of films that have been offered by the film studios.

Rocketman, which stars Taron Egerton (opens in new tab) in the lead role, carries a 15 certificate in the UK, with Elton previously reporting that he resisted moves from studios who wanted to cut some of the sex and drug scenes (opens in new tab) to allow a younger audience to experience the film.

Elton told The Guardian (opens in new tab): “Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life.

“I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company.”

Here's everything you need to know about Rocketman, while Classic Rock have also compiled the ultimate Elton John playlist.

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Rocketman Soundtrack (opens in new tab)
The soundtrack to the Elton John biopic features tracks sung by the film's leading actor Taron Egerton, along with the new song (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.