Disney has pulled the release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Malaysia, because film censors said it would only be given a certificate if its now infamous ‘gay moment’ was removed.
According to The Guardian, the two main cinema chains in Malaysia had expected to begin showing the film on Thursday but said it had now been postponed.
The chairman of the Malaysian film censorship board Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said that he did not know why the movie’s release had been pulled, because a PG13 certificate had been approved as long as the cut was made.
“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,” Abdul Halim said.
In Malaysia, censors demand that if gay characters are featured in a movie, they must eventually repent, or simply be depicted in a negative light.
Homosexuality in Malaysia is punishable by up to 20 years in prison or flogging.
The moment in question, surrounding Josh Gad’s character Le Fou, who is infatuated with Gaston, was first revealed by director Bill Condon in an interview with Attitude magazine.
Condon called it Disney’s first ‘exclusively gay moment’, but it’s caused controversy not only in Malaysia, but in Russia where the film has been given a 16+ rating because of it – though younger children can see the film if accompanied by a grown up.