Police reports filed over showings of Beauty and the Beast with ‘gay scenes’ in Malaysia

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A number of NGOs in Malaysia have filed police reports over showings of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast because of a ‘gay moment’.

Earlier this week it was reported that the film would be shown in full in Malaysia, overriding censors’ attempts to cut the film’s gay moment.

The police reports state that the film “goes against the religious and cultural values of Malaysia.”

They were filed by the president of the Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah (MJMM), Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah; chairman of the Dewan Ekonomi dan Sosial Malaysia (DESMMA), Mohd Fazil Abdullah; and chairman of the Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM), Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay, reports the New Straits Times.

Rani said the decision to show the film with “gay scenes” included prompted them to take action.

He told reporters: “We hope the Home Ministry will ban the film from being screened in this country.

“Screening the film does not benefit the youth and people of this country. It only has negative values and bad effects on society.”

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 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.

Police reports filed over showings of Beauty and the Beast with ‘gay scenes’ in Malaysia

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.

Police reports filed over showings of Beauty and the Beast with ‘gay scenes’ in Malaysia

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 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.”