A storm in a tea cup has been brewing over what appears to be a controversial gay character in Disney’s new feature, Beauty and The Beast, ahead of its worldwide release. A 4.5 minute scene in Disney‘s first live action portrayal of the classic French fairy tale has conservatives around the world considering the possibility of a ban or limiting the audience on Disney’s latest adaptation of this much-loved children’s story.
This, after the film’s director, Bill Condon, drew attention to the movie for having an “exclusively gay moment” featuring minor character, Le Fou, played by Josh Gad. Following this disclosure, objections to the character, and to a scene in which Le Fou expresses a romantic admiration of his boss, Gaston, have cropped up in various parts of the globe.
In Singapore, the National Council of Churches is concerned with the representation of an LGBTQ lifestyle that exactly 4.5 minutes of footage in the film apparently conveys.
According to the council’s statement, “They see this as an attempt to influence young children and socialise them at an early age into thinking that the homosexual lifestyle is normal”.
In neighbouring Malaysia, where homosexuality is legally condemned, the release date of Beauty and the Beast was halted for a review by the country’s censorship board. The film was later approved for release upon removal of the allegedly controversial content.
Disney, however, has refused to bow to the cuts and have decided to withhold the film’s release in this market.
The uproar is not restricted to South East Asia. Conservatives in Hong Kong have also made their voices heard. On Wednesday, a day before the movie’s official release, a conservative group submitted an objection to the island’s film classification authority. They are objecting to the movie being classified as “suitable for all ages”.
In Alabama, a small town drive-in theatre has banned the film citing conflict with the owner’s religious values. A public post on the company’s Facebook page read, “We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches,”. The drive-in theatre’s Facebook page has since been taken down.
Objections to Disney’s Beauty & The Beast have now overshadowed the film’s main love story – that is, the elegant romance between a young woman and her literal Beast of a boyfriend.
Disney fans in these parts of the world have been left in disbelief at the protests against what is considered a children’s film. It remains to be seen if they will have the opportunity to see this beloved fairy tale come to life on the big screen in their town.
Beauty and The Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast.