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– by Emmanuel Gomez

We are less that 24 hours away from the release of Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast. A film that has been on everyone’s radar ever since Disney began re-imagining their classic animated films. For me personally this is my favorite of all the classic Disney films and like a lot of other people I am very excited to see it this weekend. But unfortunately there are some countries and even places here in the United States that don’t share my excitement.

All the controversy around this film is based on the fact that Josh Gad’s character, LeFou Gaston’s sidekick, is openly gay in the film. The country of Malaysia’s censor board, according to a source from Variety, approved the film only after a short scene where LeFou’s sexuality is made perfectly clear was cut, as it was deemed inappropriate for children. In Malaysia gay sex is still illegal and punishable by law, and are only allowed to depict gay characters in films if they are portrayed negatively.

Disney has responded by moving back the release date of the film in Malaysia to March 30th, to allow the censor board to decide whether or not they would release the film, but it would not make any alterations to the film according to The Hollywood Reporter. Russia had also considered banning Beauty and the Beast but decided to instead not allow audience members under the age of 16 to screenings. Even here in the states at the Henagar Drive-In Theater in Alabama announced that it would not screen the film due to LeFou’s sexuality.

Whatever anyone’s personal beliefs are, which we should all respect one way or another, Beauty and the Beast is estimating a $200 million worldwide box office debut. Watch the film and judge it yourself, who knows we may get to this “controversial” moment and think to ourselves how much it was blown out of proportion. Based on trailers and clips I am very excited to see this story brought to life and see some of those classic scenes portrayed by live actors. Like so many other Beauty and the Beast fans I will be more worried about how close they stick to the original films story what they add in and what they remove. Lefou’s character although important, is only one small piece of the entire story.

What is your opinion, does this one character’s sexuality alter your plans on watching the film?

Beauty and Beast opens this Friday, March 17th.

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Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter