Malaysia blocks release of Beauty and the Beast after ‘gay moment’ revealed

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Malaysia has become the second country to censor Beauty and the Beast after its director revealed the film contains an “exclusively gay moment.”

The live-action Disney remake is the first major Disney film to feature an unambiguously gay character, with Gaston’s sidekick LeFou shown dancing with a man near the end of the film.

And after Russia banned anyone under 16 from seeing the film about a woman falling in love with a buffalo-like animal because of a gay moment, Malaysia suspended its release date indefinitely.

The film, which was due to be shown in cinemas from Wednesday, has been postponed due to an “internal review,” the local branch of Walt Disney told Malaysian news outlet The Star.

Last year, five Disney films ranked in Malaysia’s top 20 box office draws, grossing more than $21 million in the country.

No further explanation has been given for the postponement, and Disney has not indicated when the new release date will be for the film, which stars Emma Watson and Josh Gad.

The film has caused controversy in the US as well, with one drive-in cinema in Alabama refusing to show the film – despite having also (accidentally) scheduled a film about drag queens in its upcoming screenings.

The furore began when director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine that the character LeFou, Gaston’s manservant, has confusing feelings about the major character in the new film.

Some, however, believe that Le Fou was gay in the original film.