KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) has insisted that a “gay moment” in the highly-anticipated film Beauty and the Beast must be removed, despite Disney’s appeal against it with the Home Ministry.
With the screening indefinitely postponed due to Walt Disney Co’s refusal to accept any cuts, The Star newspaper reported the LPF as saying that movie companies have no authority to dictate terms to the country’s censors.
“Movie companies cannot impose conditions...we will not budge,” LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid was quoted saying.
The movie, featuring Harry Potter star Emma Watson, has caused controversy worldwide among religious groups angered by its depiction of Le Fou, the sycophantic sidekick to antagonist Gaston, as a gay man, making him Disney’s first ever overtly homosexual character.
In a report by AFP, Abdul Hamid admitted that the cuts concerned a song featuring Le Fou, whose dance, dialogue and lyrics are “gay”.
“In the same scene he also lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy,” Abdul Hamid was quoted saying.
“Even I wanted to bring my grandchildren to watch it. But there are rules. We don’t support LGBT.”
Homosexuality is not illegal per se in Malaysia, but the country heavily criminalises sodomy that is punishable with imprisonment, corporal punishment and fines.