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Malaysia clears Beauty and the Beast, controversial ‘gay moment’ remains

Malaysian censors have cleared Disney and Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast remake without any cuts. They’d previously raised objections to the film having a gay character.

hollywood Updated: Mar 21, 2017 17:55 IST
Beauty and the Beast,Beauty and the Beast Gay Scene,Le Fou
Disney’s film Beauty and the Beast has been pulled from cinemas in Kuwait after the country’s censors raised concerns over the film’s content. Duaij Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, a board member at the National Cinema Company that operates 11 of Kuwait’s 13 movie theaters, told The Associated Press on Monday.(AP)

Walt Disney blockbuster Beauty and the Beast will be released in Malaysia this month without any cuts, the company said on Tuesday, after censors had earlier asked for the removal of a “gay moment” in the movie.

Malaysia’s censor board last week barred the movie from screening in the Muslim-majority country if Disney did not remove the gay scene. Homosexuality is discouraged by religious leaders in Malaysia.

Disney refused to make the cut and local distributors asked the censor board to review the decision.

“We are pleased to announce that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has now been approved to be released in Malaysia with no cuts, with a PG13 rating,” the company said in a statement. PG13 rating means parental guidance is advisable for children under 13 years.

The censor board was not immediately available for comment on the reversal of its decision.

Starring Emma Watson as young Belle who falls in love with the Beast, the film features a gay character for the first time in Disney’s history.

The character, LeFou, the sidekick to the film’s primary villain, Gaston, sparked calls among some ultra-conservative groups around the world for a boycott of the film.

The movie made $170 million over the weekend in North America, setting a new record for a March opening.

Malaysia has previously blocked the release of Hollywood movies deemed religiously insensitive, such as 1998’s The Prince of Egypt, which depicted the Biblical story of Moses, and 1995’s Babe, which featured a pig as the main character. Muslims consider pigs unclean.

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First Published: Mar 21, 2017 17:55 IST