Beauty and the Beast to be shown in full in Malaysia after censors back down

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Beauty and the Beast will be shown in full in Malaysia, overriding censors’ attempts to cut the film’s gay moment.

Last week, Disney barred the film from being shown by any cinema in the country after it found out censors had removed the moment where Gaston’s sidekick LeFou dances with a man.

The live-action remake is the first major Disney film to feature an unambiguously gay character, and smashed box office records this weekend despite an attempted evangelical boycott.

And Disney released a statement today reporting that it had triumphed in its stand-off with the censors.

“We are pleased to announce that Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has now been approved to be released in Malaysia on March 30th with no cuts, with a PG 13 rating,” the statement read.

Beauty and the Beast to be shown in full in Malaysia after censors back down

Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, head of Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board, told AFP last week that his organisation was trying to censor the film because “The way he (Le Fou) dances is…gay and the dialogue and the lyrics of the song are too.

“In the same scene he also lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy.”

PinkNews has debunked this false claim – there is no love bite in the film, as one would expect from a Disney creation.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia, with those found guilty of homosexual offences facing up to 20 years in prison.

All gay characters shown in films in Malaysia must die or repent, often ‘becoming straight’ by the end of the film.

As recently as 2015, current Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak compared the LGBT community to Islamic State, saying both were enemies of Islam.

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

Beauty and the Beast to be shown in full in Malaysia after censors back down

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.

Russia has banned anyone under 16 from seeing the film because of its gay moment.

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

Recently, Ewan McGregor, who is in the film as the voice of Lumière, shut down homophobic haters such as the Malaysian censors in the best way possible.

Josh Gad, whose character Le Fou struggles with his sexuality throughout the film, said it was a shame the twist had been revealed, adding: “I hope that it’s a surprise to audiences to some extent.”

But Emma Watson, who plays Belle in the film, said the “subtle” portrayal of Le Fou was “fun”, and added extra dimensions to the character.

“It’s always like, does he idolise Gaston? Is he in love with Gaston? What’s the relationship there? And I think it’s incredibly subtle, to be perfectly honest.”