Beauty and the Beast banned from cinemas in Malaysia after plans to censor ‘gay moment’
Disney bosses have pulled Beauty and the Beast from Malaysian cinemas after gay censorship plans were revealed.
Ahead of the film’s release on Friday, director Bill Condon revealed that Beauty and the Beast will feature Disney’s first “exclusively gay moment”. The remake features an infatuation by Josh Gad’s character Le Fou towards his best friend Gaston, who is played by Luke Evans.
According to The Guardian, Disney has now decided not to prevent the film’s release and an “internal review” is underway.
Chairman of the Malaysian film censorship board Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid admitted he was confused by the decision, given that the board had approved its release as a PG13 certificate film as long as it was censored.
In a statement, he explained: “We have approved it 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.”
Homosexuality is punishable in Malaysia and can result in up to 20 years imprisonment. Film censorship laws state that gay people must be portrayed negatively on screen, if at all, or they must be seen to apologise for their sexuality.
The adaptation will contain a number of changes designed to lend characters more depth and backstory. Not only will the film reference Le Fou’s sexuality, but actress Emma Watson also recently revealed how Belle will appear as the inventor, opposed to Belle’s father being the inventor in the original 1991 animation.
She said in an interview on Lorraine: “We actually thought that story was brilliant for Belle because it kind of explained why she didn’t really fit into the village and why everyone thought she was a bit mad. And it also just emphasised that she was ahead of her time.”
Beauty and the Beast is released in UK cinemas March 17.