Olivia Wilde Slams Delta for Making Changes to 'Booksmart'

Booksmart director Olivia Wilde took on the airlines for censoring certain LGBTQ scenes in her feature directorial debut. 

Booksmart was one of the funniest and best movies of 2019 (and probably the decade). It tells a compelling and hilarious coming-of-age story that doesn't shy away from the honesty regarding modern teens and sex that most comedies in the genre do. The film's progressive message was heralded by critics and so was its overall story. It is one of the best feature directorial debuts ever.

But controversy struck when Olivia Wilde found out that many airlines were censoring her work, so she took to Twitter to talk about the main issues with that sort of arbitrary editing.  Check out her Twitter thread below and let's talk after the jump. 

As of now, we know that the airline in question, Delta, says they don't single out certain kinds of sexuality to censor. But it is clear that they, and most airlines, use a third party that sells them censored movies. In a statement to The Washington Post, Delta said its “content parameters do not in any way ask for the removal of homosexual content from the film.”

Take a read of Wilde's comments and list of edits. 

It's clear where Wilde stands when it comes to her work. During an Awards Show, Wilde stated  “If it’s not X-rated, surely it’s acceptable on an airplane ... There’s insane violence of bodies being smashed in half [in other movies], and yet a love scene between two women is censored from the film. It’s such an integral part of this character’s journey. I don’t understand it."

According to the same Washington Post article, Delta passengers protested that the in-flight cut of “Rocketman,” the Elton John biopic released this year, was missing sex scenes and even a chaste kiss between two men. They also cut scenes in Carol and a scene in Bad Moms when the mothers kiss, too. 

So it seems like there's a pattern. 

How do Airlines censor plane movies? 

Airlines like Delta use a third party to edit their movies. That party uses an internal standard on what to cut. As Wilde mentioned, it seems like cursing and violence is allowed, but sexuality is not. 

This seems as twisted as the MPAA. 

Look, a giant corporation siphoning out censorship to a third party is not news, but it's also kind of bullshit. The movies on airplanes come with warnings. It's weird that they are censored at all. That should be a parent's job. 

Now, I understand that you can't control who you sit next to on a plane, and you maybe don't want a kid looking over and seeing a full-blown sex scene, but I also think it's awful having someone in a room deem what's acceptable for us to watch. 

Especially if they don't have to prove anything and are making moral decisions based on no tangible evidence. 

What do you all think? 

Let us know in the comments!      

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This site really need to grow up a little bit. Once you've had kids, or you've reached the age of 25 (it's obvious that all of the writers here are very, very young and inexperienced) you'll start to learn a bit about life, and respecting the needs of others who are different than you.
If you have a problem with this type of socialization, you need to experience people and places outside of your thought-bubble world.

October 31, 2019 at 1:47PM


Thanks, Mike! At 32 I learned a whole lot about corporations forcing specific values on people like an authoritarian regime instead of leaving decisions up to parents! But sure, let's worry about the children, won't somebody think of the children!?!

October 31, 2019 at 4:02PM

Jason Hellerman

This is an interesting topic. Not having seen the film in question I can't really comment on what was cut and what wasn't but in a broader sense I would hazard a guess that the motives are less to do with corporate sexual conservatism on the part of the airline but more to do with a cautionary protection of the cultural and religious differences of its passengers. Airlines are by their nature usually crossing international boundaries and with that also comes a crossing of religious and cultural borders which they are likely keen to try and skate across as delicately as possible.

It's an interesting modern conundrum where the drive for inclusivity meets the drive to respect other peoples boundaries. We are as liberal minded people a little stuck in this new territory aren't we. Respect peoples religions and cultural beliefs and at the same time respect peoples sexuality and right to express it. The two are so often at odds. The only way it seems to be able to "work" is to accept that there will always be compromise. I guess that's what acceptance means in its truest form. Should celebrating difference simultaneously also ban peoples right to think differently than each other? It's far from easy and far from back and white. And at 35,000 feet I'm sure the ancient war between sex and religion is best avoided.

And Mike, I agree, getting older means you come to accept greyness in more ways than one. I'll definitely check out the film, (in it's non-airline cut!), sounds interesting.

November 1, 2019 at 5:04AM

Paul fern
Film maker

I think it’s great that they edit sex scenes from movies on the Airplanes. I would hate to be sitting next to someone watching some sorta smut or even worse , would hate for my kid to see that crap.

I can assure you this, the backlash the airlines would have if they don’t edit those moments would be worse than some obscure director’s twitter rant.

November 1, 2019 at 9:21AM