Sir Ian McKellen slams censorship of Beauty and the Beast over gay character

Sir Ian McKellen has hit out at the extreme reactions to the upcoming Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast featuring a gay character.

Disney has come under sustained fire from evangelicals in recent weeks after news of a gay character, LeFou, in live-action remake Beauty and the Beast. There has been a hysterical backlash to the news from anti-LGBT activists around the world.

The film’s release was scrapped in Malaysia after censors demanded Disney cut out the scene, while Russia’s film censorship body restricted the film to adults only.

It was also pulled from a ‘family-friendly’ drive-through in Alabama.

A petition has been started to support Disney including more LGBT characters in its films.

Speaking at the New York premiere, Sir Ian McKellen, who appears in the film as the brought-to-life clock Cogsworth, slammed the idiotic anti-gay reaction to the tiny scene.

He said: “For people to complain about it and say they don’t want children to see it is absolute rubbish.

“I know people who don’t like gay people make a fuss, it’s a very small moment in the movie and nobody should get too excited.”

Co-star Audra McDonald told CNN: “There’s all kinds of diversity within the world and we have it in this film.

“In the end, the film is about seeing past anyone’s surface and looking on the inside.

“It’s not only about learning to love someone else, but it’s about learning to love yourself – and that’s deeply human, and we all feel that no matter who we are or who we love.”