Beauty and the Beast pulled in Malaysia after 'gay moment' is cut

Disney postpones release of film after state censorship board removes scene between LeFou and Gaston

Luke Evans and Josh Gad in Beauty and the Beast
Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou in Beauty and the Beast

Disney has postponed the release of Beauty and the Beast in Malaysia after being asked to remove a "gay moment".

Studio bosses pulled the film three days before it was due to hit cinemas in the country and said a review was taking place.

The live-action remake of the popular cartoon features a scene in which the "sexuality of sidekick character LeFou, played by actor Josh Gad, is made clear," says Variety.

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LeFou is torn between feelings of lust and admiration for main antagonist Gaston, reports the BBC.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and film scenes depicting gay characters or discourse are only permitted if they are portrayed either negatively or as repentant, reports the Independent.

Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian film censorship board, said Beauty and the Beast had been approved apart from one scene.

He said: "We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie."

There had been no appeal from Disney about the decision, he added, reports The Guardian.

Film fans in the country have been angered by the cut.

Jasrena Jasmih, an executive who works in Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters: "[The censors] are too sensitive... They should be open-minded because it's just a movie, just a story. Nothing else matters."

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Tourism minister Seri Nazri Aziz also said the censorship board's review was "ridiculous", adding: "You don't ban a film because of a gay character. There are also gays in the world. I don't think it is going to influence anyone. We need to think. We must allow people to decide for themselves.”

Malaysia is not the only country where the scene has caused concern. Last week, an MP in Russia said the film would spread gay "propaganda" among young people and called for it to be banned. It was eventually allowed to be released with an "adults only" rating.

Beauty and the Beast opens in the UK on Friday.

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