Disney has refused to cut a gay scene in its new movie, Beauty and the Beast, after requests from censors in countries where homosexual activity is illegal. This includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Malaysia.
The movie’s director, Bill Condon, must have never seen this coming. Before the release of the movie, the director stated the remake of an old classic would feature an “exclusively gay moment” in which LeFou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans), one of Belle’s (Emma Watson) suitors. This has created a lot of controversy in several countries, even those without laws prohibiting homosexuality.
Disney had sent an altered version of the film to Malaysia, which had the most pro-gay scene removed, but then canceled the entire screening of the movie in Malaysia as a whole. They have sent a stern message to all those who want to boycott the film’s screening, by sticking by Condon’s artistic intention and this new chapter for Disney.
Worldwide the film has been under speculation for its choice of “inappropriate” scenes for children. Russia had been considering to prevent the filming throughout the country but then instead decided to change the film’s age restriction. Now only people aged 16 and above are able to see it in theaters.
In other cases, a cinema in Alabama has decided against screening the film because of this pro-gay scene, which is just too much of a sin in god’s eyes, (really?). The cinema released a statement on FaceBook which soon after, was taken down. “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 then we have no business showing it.”
This new chapter of Disney has the power to educate and show younger children to accept homosexuality and be comfortable with it, in a pivoting, alive and modern twist to an old classic. With the leading actress, Emma Watson, being a UN ambassador, a feminist, and a generally empowering woman, this movie is one of acceptance and childhood memories.