Disney has shelved the release of its live-action “Beauty and the Beast” in mainly Muslim Malaysia despite the Film Censorship Board approving the film with a minor cut involving a “gay moment.”
According to the Associated Press, the country’s two main cinema chains said the movie has been postponed indefinitely, but no reason was given.
Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said he had no idea why the film was shelved, given that it was approved by the board after a minor gay scene was cut from the film. Scenes “promoting sexuality were forbidden,” he said. The film was given a P13 rating, he said, which requires parental guidance for children under 13 years of age.
“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,” Abdul Halim told the Associated Press.
He added that there was no appeal from Disney about the decision to ax the gay scene.
Disney has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment. However, The Star reported that Disney said in an email that the film was postponed due to an “internal review.”
On the website for Malaysia’s Golden Screen Cinemas, it said, “Please be informed that the release date for Beauty and the Beast (BATB) has been postponed by Disney until further notice. GSC will be conducting a refund for customers who have purchased BATB tickets.”
Earlier this month, director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine that the movie would feature an “exclusively gay moment” involving Josh Gad’s character, LeFou, the buddy of vain villain Gaston (Luke Evans).
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon told the magazine. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
In response, an Alabama movie theater decided to pull its scheduled screenings of Disney’s live-action remake because of the film’s inclusion of a “homosexual character.”
In Russia, the film received an age restriction, meaning people under the age of 16 will not be able to go see the movie in theaters without being accompanied by an adult.
This came three days after Vitaly Milonov, an MP of the United Russia party, asked the country’s culture minister to screen the film prior to its March 16 Russian release and to “take measures to totally ban” it if the film contains “elements of propaganda of homosexuality.”