Beauty and the Beast pulled from screens due to ‘gay moment’

Malaysia drops Beauty and the Beast

The sexuality of one character in Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast has ruffled quite a few feathers in recent weeks. Now, Malaysia is taking a hard stance on the subject and pulling the film from release.

The character at the root of the controversy is LeFou, who is Gaston’s sidekick and is played by Josh Gad in the film. It was revealed a few weeks ago that LeFou would be portrayed as openly gay, a groundbreaking move for Disney, which has never featured an LGBTQ character in one of its films until now.

According to Variety, Malaysia has dropped the film despite the country’s official censors having approved a version without the highly-publicized “gay moment.”

Apparently, the “gay moment” involves a scene where LeFou’s homosexuality, which is never really made 100 per cent clear, becomes a little more defined as he dances with another man for approximately two seconds on a very crowded dance floor.

Variety adds that Bill Condon‘s film was scheduled to hit screens this Thursday (March 16) but has disappeared from some local movie listings. More than that, theater chain Golden Screen Cinemas posted a note on its website saying Beauty and the Beast “has been postponed by Disney until further notice.”

Abdul Halim, chairman of Malaysia’s film censorship board, addressed the decision to excise the “gay moment” from the film in a comment to The Associated Press. He said, “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.”

When asked why the film had been shelved even after the cut had been made, Halim had no answer.

Malaysia is a socially conservative country where gay sex remains punishable by law, including imprisonment. As Variety points out, “Gay characters are allowed to be shown in movies, but only if they are portrayed negatively or as repentant.”

Russia is another country that has deemed LeFou’s sexuality to be problematic. It stamped Beauty and the Beast with a 16+ rating due to the “gay moment,” meaning viewers must be at least 16 years of age to buy tickets.

But the discussion has reached North American shores as well. Owners of the Henagar Drive-in Theatre in Alabama are refusing to air the film because of LeFou’s sexuality, drawing on religion as reason.

In a Facebook post they shared, they wrote, “If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me than we have no business showing it.”

The owners added, “We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”

Despite the backlash, the cast of Beauty and the Beast is making light of the fuss. At the film’s New York City premiere on Monday (March 14), Ian McKellen — who plays Cogsworth — joked that the picture marks “another gay extravaganza” for director Bill Condon. He was alluding to Gods and Monsters (1998), a sexually-charged drama about gay director James Whale. Ian starred in the film and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

What are your thoughts on the controversy swirling around Beauty and the Beast? Does LeFou’s sexuality affect your interest in the film? ~Matthew Pariselli

Malaysia drops Beauty and the Beast

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Cheryl Welsh • March 14, 2017 @ 1:24 PM

    It impacts me….many grandkids and because it is a fun/fantasy movie, not deemed appropriate for sexual innuendoes more suited to adult films and audiences.

  2. Cheryl Welsh • March 14, 2017 @ 1:26 PM

    Will not be watching due to sexual innuendoes more appropriate for non family movie. Lots of grandkids and if adultery was in it we also would not watch with grandkids.

  3. Johnny Mack • March 14, 2017 @ 1:46 PM

    Cheryl this is not 1917 its 2017. Your homophobic attitude is a few decades behind. You call it sexual innuendos but we all know its the gay character you are talking about. You see worse things on TV at any time of the day. Hilarious post though, well done.

  4. Henry • March 14, 2017 @ 4:29 PM

    It’s absurd that this is a conversation people are even having.
    Cheryl, you might want to climb out of the Dark Ages and step into the 21st century. The representation of an LGBTQ character in a movie doesn’t necessarily mean the film is sexually explicit. How is that your logic? Your grandkids will be better off for seeing an LGBTQ character on screen – certainly sounds like you could use the exposure, too.

  5. Marie • March 14, 2017 @ 7:36 PM

    I will definitely be seeing it who cares if there is a gay moment in it people need to grow up. It goes to show u that people can’t handle things like this. For those who are out there that will not go see this movie cause of ur views keep it to yourself and this is coming from someone who is proud to be part of the LGBT community

  6. My name • March 14, 2017 @ 7:38 PM

    I agree with Cheryl, you shouldn’t have to worry about blatant gay men in a movie that was written in the 90’s as Lefou being nothing more then there to get abused by Gaston to show how cruel Gaston is. Besides Lefou liked those 3 ladies in the animated movie so this change is completely unnecessary.

  7. silvio bentivoglio • March 15, 2017 @ 1:50 AM

    Beauty and the Beast has ruffled quite a few feathers in recent weeks. Now, Malaysia is taking a hard stance on the subject and pulling the film from release……..can I say, right on Malaysia !!!!! finally somebody taking a stand on homosexually ( as it just plain wrong and a sin against god ) rather than the political correct typical kiss ass that plays to this immoral wrong choice in life that just eye sore to god purpose and plain

  8. Del • March 15, 2017 @ 2:45 AM

    Pulling the movie entirely is overreacting. It’s not like there’s a love scene. It’s two seconds of slow-dancing. Children watching it will not be ruined when they see an LGBTQ character representing 3% of our population. Calm. Down. And just show the movie.

    SIDE NOTE:

    It NEVER occurred to me as a child, that HIM in The Powerpuff Girls was transgender. He was just another character. It’s funny to think there was a transgender character in a show I used to watch as a kid. But am I scandalized at all? No.

  9. Alden • March 15, 2017 @ 2:53 AM

    Actually, Johnny, Henry, and Marie are the ones who should grow up here. I value Cheryl’s stand here, and she has every right to make it. If you don’t agree with her, suck it up. Wisdom will prove who the fool is here, and it’s definitely not Cheryl. I am impressed with how she stands for the proper upbringing of her family, and her support of traditional family values. Whether 2017 or 1100 BC, these values still hold strong and true today. Any nauseating LGBTQ scenes should not be exposed to our precious children. I am disappointed with Disney here.

  10. I remember Nolan • March 15, 2017 @ 5:19 AM

    Gay, straight, I don’t care one bit. I won’t see the film because I am sick to death of the constant stream of remakes and sequels the studios keep clogging up the screens with. Originality is an endangered species in Hollywood.

  11. Maverick K. • March 15, 2017 @ 5:41 AM

    Okay, so this is what I have to say. I remember growing up and falling in love with Belle, as I got older I became attracted to girls with long dark hair, a certain figure and finesse to them. I was only 8 years old at the time, but as I think back to the things I saw, whether it was the smallest moment or any other moment, for those of you “Speaking” on behalf of what your kids might see, YOU are the adult, your mind has already shaped itself seeing as we are here able to communicate and make sound decisions about a movie. Imagine for a second, you are a child, go back 30, 40, 50 or 60 years and remember something you saw and how it may have impacted you. Yeah, for two whole seconds something “COULD” have a lasting impression. So really, the movie is dictating that society and everyone in general be “okay” or become sensitised to certain nature/graphic. I think and strongly believe it is up to children to understand and know about what they are viewing, if there are parents out there switching the channel when the durex commercial airs or two people getting sexual, then how is that any different from two seconds in the young adult movie that will make them think. Trust me when I say this, schools here in Toronto already have issues with the sex-ed curriculum for children under age, so don’t assume it will be fine and dandy when your child comes home from the movies and starts asking 20 questions and you have no way of correctly or appropriately answering them.

  12. Maverick K. • March 15, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

    On a secondary note: If your child happens across CBC one day when Disney airs the original 1991 version and LeFou is clearly seen attracted to women as a grown man, how then do you explain to your child or teen the difference between the two movies in which the same character appears? Daughter: “Mummy, why is LeFou dancing with a man in that movie but he likes girls in this movie”? Please, by all means, any of you out there who have spoken before, go ahead and tell me how you intend to handle this? Because kids are not stupid, at 5 years old they can put you in your place or even worse, they know these days when parents are either lying or fighting. So you tell me how it’s fair to take a child into a cinema without advising them of the nature that they might see something that typically is seen in public but you turn them away from it. Any children seeing this movie may use this one moment as a stepping stone in their own life, I’m not trying to play devils advocate but at the same time, the way in which a movie shaped my views will certainly shape another child’s. It’s like reading a book, only you’re not using your imagination, what you’re seeing is being told and you will come to accept it (that is what Disney’s message seems to be). I am just saying, there is a line, and if you are a traditional person or even the everyday okay with life and have friends who are openly gay or colleagues who are gay; I mean, how do you discuss with them you will not take your child to see this movie? I feel as if I am not giving a definitive statement on my part, and that’s because I have a cousin who is gay and friends who are gay also, but neither have children, but my other cousins do have children under 10 and this moment will instinctively be etched into their thoughts the next time someone of the same gender/sex asks them to dance. I assure you, there will be hesitation to some children, but whoever this movie does affect over time, as the parent, you will have to deal with the outcome when the time comes. That’s all I’m going to say. We’ve made our minds, and we constantly make our children’s decisions for them each day they wake up or step out the door, so how is this moment any different?

  13. kay Roch • March 15, 2017 @ 9:48 AM

    first people beauty and the beast is and was a kids movie, there is no need for changes.
    second I really don’t think a gay second will traumatize your kids it will probably go right past them.
    eventually you will have to answer questions, but now let them enjoy the movie

  14. Samantha • March 15, 2017 @ 9:52 AM

    He was gay in the animated version, so if you saw that movie and didn’t notice and/or didn’t care, this one is not any different. It’s just way better than the animated one and if you choose not to see it because you’re blinded by hate for people who are different than you, then you are only hurting yourselves.

  15. Greg • March 15, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

    The issue is not that the scene is in the movie or not but is one about choice. Many would criticize the Christian community for having forced their beliefs on society for too long. Yet now the LGBTQ community and its proponents are doing the same thing, trying at every turn to force their beliefs on society. It’s about choice and when and where our children are exposed to the things of this world. No one has this right and from a public forum, what my children see and when is still my choice, when anyone tries to make that choice for me, we’re going to have an issue. This is the role of the parent whether you or anyone agrees with it or not, best not to fall into the trap that you have that right to influence my children and with your personal agenda. One day the world will wise up to that, or at least in my opinion should.

  16. Steve • March 15, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

    I feel sorry for Cheryl, and others like her, who have already made up their minds about the appropriateness of a movie that, from what I can determine from her comments, she hasn’t even seen. Personally, I find people like her scary because their attitudes appear to be uninformed yet resolute. Hey! Does anyone else with that seeming mindset suddenly come to mind?

  17. Mike Walsh • March 15, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

    LeFous’ sexuality has no influence on my interest in this movie. The characters are the characters, and I will either enjoy or detest this movie based on its content and not on the sexual orientation of the characters in the movie. If there is nudity or explicit conduct in a children’s movie I would have offence, but if there is love, happiness and that fairy tale imagination then that is something everyone can enjoy. You will either watch or not. You will allow your children to either enjoy or not. We should allow our children to have a voice with supervision, but ‘yes’ should be used more than ‘no’.

  18. Kingsley Fialho • March 15, 2017 @ 1:17 PM

    Apparently, the “gay moment” involves a scene where LeFou’s homosexuality, which is never really made 100 per cent clear, becomes a little more defined as he dances with another man for approximately two seconds on a very crowded dance floor.

    That’s it?!?! Because he dances with another man for 2 seconds it’s deemed inappropriate?!? Get the *!@! out of here. lol.

  19. Marlene • March 15, 2017 @ 3:43 PM

    I am a Nana…grandma… and in a heartbeat I would take all my grandchildren to see this movie. If one of them giggles, makes a comment to each other or to me or asks me the question, “Nana why were there two men dancing together?”… I would respond, “Love for another person can be felt between man and woman, or man and man or woman and woman.” This way they would not be surprised if they saw, let’s say their teacher in school kissing their ‘partner’ at a grocery store or something. It would simply be oh there is so and so kissing the person they love…okay and then move on. If you make it a big deal then it becomes a big deal. If you treat like it is reality, because it is, then that is the healthiest way to be a grandparent… be honest and realistic. Pretending it doesn’t exist is teaching them to be in denial. Enjoying life on life’s terms 🙂

  20. Samantha • March 15, 2017 @ 5:36 PM

    Marlene, you are a quality person. 🙂 <3

  21. Marlene • March 15, 2017 @ 7:12 PM

    Thank you Samantha 🙂

  22. Blake • March 15, 2017 @ 7:42 PM

    Bless you, Marlene! If only all people shared your approach.

  23. Gareth • March 16, 2017 @ 7:52 PM

    So the theater owner says “We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language” but conspicuously absent in the list of content in film that they consider to be “unwholesome and anti-family” is VIOLENCE. Wow u cvall on a socialist (maybe even communist) pacifsts figure like jesus to give creeedance to your stabce but have no problemw ith showing we beating the crap out of our fellow humans or killing them at all because you that is exactly what family is about and what we want to teach our young cuz why else do we have a god given right as laid down by Moses and endorsed by Jesus in the constitution to bear arms?? smdh

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