Disney Won’t Cut Beauty and the Beast Gay Scene for Malaysia
March 16, 2017
Walt Disney Co indefinitely pulled Beauty and the Beast from theaters in Malaysia rather than remove scenes involving a gay character to placate local authorities.
In a statement emailed to Bloomberg, Disney said, “the film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia”, effectively shelving plans to release it in the South-east Asian country.
The yanking of the film came after Malaysia’s film censorship board excised a scene in which the sexuality of sidekick character LeFou, played by actor Josh Gad (pictured), is made clear.
“We have approved [the movie], but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene, but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie,” board chairman Abdul Halim told The Associated Press.
This is the third recent instance of the Emma Watson/Dan Stevens-starring musical fairy tale coming up against upset over Josh Gad’s portrayal of LeFou as smitten with the handsome cad Gaston (Luke Evans). A Christian-owned drive-in theater in Alabama said earlier this month that it would not show the movie. Russia then slapped it with a 16+ certificate, a higher rating than films for kids and families typically receive. That followed speculation that the movie could have been banned under Russia’s anti-“gay propaganda” law.
Many Malaysian netizens were understandably upset, calling out Disney for pushing an ‘agenda’ at the cost of depriving an entire country of a movie, as seen from these comments on the Walt Disney Studios Malaysia Facebook page.
Despite the controversy, the movie has already become the fastest-selling family film in history, outpacing previous record-holder “Finding Dory“, according to online ticket seller Fandango, ahead of its release this week.