US cinema cancels Beauty and the Beast in gay character backlash

Josh Gad as Le Fou in 'Beauty and the Beast' (credit: Disney)
Josh Gad as Le Fou in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (credit: Disney)

As was sadly inevitable, the recent news that Disney’s live-action remake of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will feature the studio’s “first exclusively gay moment” has not gone down well everywhere.

The announcement by director Bill Condon earlier this week has led to a cinema in southern US state Alabama cancelling its planned screenings of the film.

Identifying as Christian, the owners of the Henagar Drive-In Theater declare on their Facebook page, “when companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand.”

The post goes on to argue, “If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”

The owners go on to state, “we will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”

Okay, as a Brit I have absolutely no first-hand experience of the drive-in movie, but I’ve long been given to understand most of them almost exclusively showed films full of sex, nudity and foul language. Also seems curious that ‘violence’ was not listed among the potential offenders of family values there.

Many comments on the Facebook thread condemn the owners’ position, remarks including “I thought the Bible teaches to love your fellow man. No?” and “Proof that drive in theaters really do only exist in the past.”

Le Fou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans) (Credit: Disney)
Le Fou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans) (Credit: Disney)

Actor Josh Gad, who stars as Le Fou (and is reportedly revealed to have romantic feelings toward his friend Gaston, played by Luke Evans), has addressed the controversy, telling USA Today, “there was nothing in the script that said ‘LeFou is gay,’” but declaring, “I’m honored to have that moment as part of my character’s arc.”

‘Beauty and the Beast’ – which, it has since been announced, will also feature the first interracial kiss in a Disney movie – will open in UK cinemas on 17 March.

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