Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast has been pulled from movie theatres in Malaysia, after the studio refusing to cut scenes involving a gay character.
The Malaysian Film Censorship Board gave the move a P13 rating if nearly five minutes of a subplot involving, as they called it a “gay moment”, was cut from the movie. The film board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said, according to the MalayMailOnline.com, that the film could be shown after the scenes were removed, but those younger than 13 would need to be accompanied by an adult.
Disney confirmed earlier this month that Josh Gad’s character LeFou was homosexual, making him the first ever character in the company’s history to be identified as gay.
Responding to the Malaysian’s request to edit the subplot out of the movie, a statement from the studio said: “The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia.”
The decision resulted in Golden Screen Cinemas pulling the planned showings of the movie and offering those who had bought advanced tickets refunds.
The remake of the 1991 animated classic stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the central lovers, but has received attention for the other previously unknown romance.
Director Bill Condon revealed in an interview with Attitude magazine that Gaston’s sidekick LeFou is gay and hints he may be in love with the dashing villain, played by Luke Evans.
Malaysia’s decision comes after Russia gave the movie an ‘adults only’ rating over the homosexual subplot earlier this month.
Gad himself has played down the drama, insisting the attention over his character’s sexuality had been over the top.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Now that audiences are seeing the film they’re agreeing that there’s not much there to this story [about the gay element]. And it’s just been very blown out of proportion and what I’m much more thrilled about is this theme of never judging a book by it’s cover – I think that’s at the core of it all and that’s what I hope people take away from this film.”