Beauty and the Beast’s Malaysian release has been thrown into doubt after Disney refused the country’s request to cut a gay subplot from the film.
The live action remake of the 1991 cartoon classic was due to be released in Malaysia on Thursday after the country’s Film Censorship Board approved the film on the condition that around four and a half minutes of footage involving Josh Gad’s character LeFou were removed from the final edit.
The hypothetical ‘censored’ version was approved with a P13 rating – requiring children under the age of 13 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
However, Disney confirmed in an email to Bloomberg on Tuesday that “the film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” leaving it’s ultimate fate unclear.
Homophobes around the world have been upset by the movie’s small but landmark inclusion of Disney’s first ever “exclusively gay moment”, which director Bill Condon first revealed in Attitude April issue.
The chairman of the Malaysian Film Censorship Board, Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told Associated Press on Wednesday: “It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie.”
Sames-sex sexual relations are illegal in Malaysia and punishable with prison or lashings. Gay characters are allowed to be shown on film, but only if they are portrayed in a negative light or ‘repent’.
The stand-off comes a week after Russia said children under the age of 16 seeing the film should be accompanied by an adult over concerns surrounding the film’s gay-friendly content.
Beauty and the Beast is set for release in the UK this Friday (17 March). Check out or review here.