Delta Responds To Rocketman And Booksmart's 'Unnecessarily' Cut Same-Sex Love Scenes

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart.

Two of the year’s most acclaimed films feature same-sex relationships between their protagonists. Booksmart and Rocketman have been commended for their positive, nuanced portrayal of these characters. So fans were disappointed to learn that romantic scenes in both films had been edited out of the versions shown on Delta flights. The airline scrambled to respond to the backlash -- and says the cuts were unnecessary.

Though she did not name the airline specifically, Booksmart director Olivia Wilde tweeted her disappointment about the exclusion of scenes from her film on October 30 -- and as to be expected, others on the social media platform weren’t pleased, either. Cast members of Booksmart also weighed in on Delta’s decision, expressing their dismay at the decision. In response, Delta promised that the edited footage would be added back in for viewers on their flights. A spokesperson for the airline said:

The studio has agreed to provide a special Delta edit that retains the LGBTQ+ love scenes in both Booksmart and Rocketman that will be on our flights as soon as possible. Currently, 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.

In the case of Booksmart, a scene was cut in which Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and her friend Hope (Dianna Silvers) start to have sex. Olivia Wilde noted that the edited version of the film also cut lines that referenced female genitalia, though dialogue that contained profanity was left in. A sex scene between Elton John (Taron Egerton) and John Reid (Richard Madden) was edited out of Rocketman. Delta’s statement also sought to clarify how the censored versions of the films were shown in the first place, saying:

Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version. 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 has not yet indicated when the restored versions of the films will be available on their flights. But they did make it clear that they will make it a priority to make sure that this issue will not happen again, saying:

We are immediately putting a new process in place for managing content available through Delta's in-flight entertainment.

Olivia Wilde seems to think so. She tweeted at the airline after their November 1 announcement, telling them, “Thank you.” Delta will reportedly work with the films’ studios directly to restore the scenes. Though questions still remain as to why the scenes were removed at all, it is refreshing to see the airline take responsibility, and move quickly to fix the error.

Katherine Webb