Disney’s ‘gay moment’ unwelcome in some countries

Movie | Foreign governments say same-sex attraction in Beauty and the Beast violates moral codes
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 3/17/17, 11:33 am

Disney’s decision to include an “exclusively gay moment” in its new film Beauty and the Beast continues to cause an uproar, most notably overseas.

On Tuesday, Disney decided to pull the film from Malaysia after the country’s censorship board approved a version of the film with a pro-gay scene cut. Rather than agree to the edit, Disney yanked the film.

“The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” Disney said in a statement late Tuesday.

The controversial scenes center on the character of Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick, who apparently has a crush on his master, briefly sits in his lap, and has a split-second ballroom dance with another man.

Malaysian officials on Wednesday maintained they were not preventing the film’s release.

“It is in our guidelines that we don’t allow LGBT activity in movies in Malaysia,” Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, chairman of Malaysia’s censorship board, told The New York Times. “ [Disney executives] are the ones not allowing the movie to be shown. We approved it with a minor cut.”

Abdul Halim said the board commonly cuts scenes from movies before releasing them in the Muslim majority country.

“Malaysia is looking forward to the film,” he said, noting Disney could appeal the decision but had yet to submit a request. “The parents are looking forward to bringing the children. Even I, myself, look forward to bringing my grandchildren.”

Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia, a country of 30 million people where only 9 percent believe homosexuality should be accepted in society, according to a 2013 Pew survey.

“If they want to screen it here, they have to comply,” Abdul Halim said.

Disney is seeing backlash from other southeast Asian nations, too. Indonesia will screen the film without cuts but only for those ages 13 and older. Singapore gave the film a PG rating but advised parents to accompany their children.

The National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) called the “gay moment” inclusion “totally unnecessary” and urged parents to be careful.

“Some Christian leaders here are deeply concerned about the LGBT representation in this new Disney movie,” NCCS said in a letter to pastors and church leaders. “They see this as an attempt to influence young children and socialize them at an early age into thinking that the homosexual lifestyle is normal.”

The Russian Culture Ministry approved the film despite protests, but gave it an “adults-only” rating, restricting it to viewers 16 and older. In 2013, Russia passed a federal ban on “gay propaganda” to minors. The film rating decision came days after Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov called the film an “overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale.”

In the United States, some pro-family groups are calling for a boycott, while others are encouraging parents to be discerning. An online letter by the American Family Association promising to boycott the movie and urging others to do so has over 50,000 signatures.

Other voices are asking why parents are so surprised that “a production company without a Christian worldview” promotes a message that is increasingly normalized in society.

“What’s surprising to me is the idea that now Christian parents are saying they won’t blindly take their kids to see Beauty and the Beast,” wrote Jasmine Holmes on the Desiring God website, noting that parents should have long realized they can’t trust a secular company like Disney to present movies with anything other than a secular worldview. “Should this really seem so new to us?”

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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Comments

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  •  SleeperSRT10's picture
    SleeperSRT10
    Posted: Fri, 03/17/2017 11:52 am

    Disney's true colors are finally showing clearly for those who missed their actions a year ago in threatening to boycott the state of Georgia over gay rights and religious freedoms.  Disney's outright support and promotion of homosexuality is quite sad since it was originally created for families and was good clean fun for many years. 

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Fri, 03/17/2017 12:18 pm

    Apparently other countries have more brains than we do.

  • TXfamily
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 11:11 pm

    Apparently other countries don't enjoy freedom of expression like we do.

    -Seth, age 17

  • VT
    Posted: Mon, 03/27/2017 04:02 pm

    HA! Apparently. Go russia! Malaysia! At least they think about homosexuality as wrong.

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Fri, 03/17/2017 12:21 pm

    What strikes me most in this article is we finally hear the Muslim reaction to immorality. In the US, Christians carry the "Intolerant" label alone because we stand up for righteousness while the Mormons and Muslims stay quiet about their views on sexual behavior. Elitists in American society conveniently forget Islam's severe penalties for homosexual activity.

  • VT
    Posted: Mon, 03/27/2017 04:02 pm

    Hmmmm true, true.

  • JM
    Posted: Fri, 03/17/2017 06:53 pm

    "Now they realize they can't implicitly trust a secular company not to market their Christian worldview in their movies."

    Should that read "secular world view"?

     

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 04:08 pm

    Thank you for pointing this out. We changed that part of the article to better reflect Jasmine Holmes’ point.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 12:25 am

    These efforts to naturalise the unnatural are a far cry from the wholesome family entertainment I grew up looking forward to see on Sunday afternoons.  Boycott indeed.

  • Just Me 999
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 06:20 am

    Amen

  • VT
    Posted: Mon, 03/27/2017 04:03 pm

    Ditto ^

  • Rich277
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 08:26 am

    So if the Disney people call these countries homophobic, does that mean Disney is Islamophobic?  I'm just trying to keep score.  Now that ESPN has ruined sports, the Great Epithet Battles of the Age of Tolerance are the most entertaining thing around.  I wish somone would officially codify the rules, though.

  • LM
    Posted: Sat, 03/18/2017 10:23 am

    If you disagree with the normalization of homosexuality by Disney, send them an email:

    TWDS.Global.Communications@disney.com

    I grew up in a family that consumed Disney products and entertainment.  Then when I had a family of my own, we treated ourselves to Disney movies and theme parks.  We did so because Disney was "safe" and family friendly.

    My email to Disney pointed out that this movie is offensive to the church going Christian community as it attempts to normalize what we scriptually view as sin (among others).  As a result of Disney's decision, our family will no longer contribute to Disney's profits.  That simple.

  • VT
    Posted: Mon, 03/27/2017 04:05 pm

    I don't think Disney cares. That's one of the many problems.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Sun, 03/19/2017 02:50 pm

    Not surprised.  For how many years now has Disney promoted a special gay weekend in their parks?

  • KP
    Posted: Sun, 03/19/2017 03:32 pm

    Disney is not just now showing their "true colors." Here are just four (of many more) of the agendias that they have been focusing on since their inception: 1) parents are dumb (or mean, or behind the times and don't want you to follow your dreams) 2) follow your heart...even if it show total disrespect and disregard to parental authority 3) love means finding the "one" that makes you happy (the exception is Frozen) 4) do what makes you happy whatever the cost. The list is much longer and these 4 alone are as dangerous as a Pro-gay agenda but for some reason there are articles and debates and fights over this particular sin and not the others. There are mass scale boycotts to this particular sin and not the others. It's disingenuous to say the least. I'll see it with my 14 year old daughter when it goes to the dollar movie and we will grab a cup of coffee after and talk about what she thinks and how to love our neighbors well while still standing and speaking the truth in love.

  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Sun, 03/19/2017 09:18 pm

    I think where Disney goofed was allowing the film's director Bill Condon to rub our noses in his bit of propaganda. He has made such a big deal of his little scene(s) that it is almost a challenge to us parents and grandparents, effectively saying: "You know your kids want to go and when you take them, we will give them a few seconds which normalize same-sex attraction." If I were an LGBT 'rights' supporter, however, I would be insulted that Condon used the villain and the villiage idiot to promote his position.

    And Megan Basham, WORLD Magazine's dependable movie reviewer says it is not a great movie anyway https://world.wng.org/2017/03/progressive_fairy_tale. Guess we won't be going.

  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Tue, 03/21/2017 01:20 am

    Isn't Disney an entertainment company? Why do they feel the need to make a statement or get involved at all in changing the moral outlook of society? It is much more of a pleasure to watch movies that don't push alternate lifestyles in our faces to the point that it distracts from the plot.

  • Daniel40
    Posted: Tue, 03/21/2017 04:07 am

    Amidst all the criticism, we should acknowledge what Disney did get (unwittingly) right - that someone who thinks it acceptable to pursue a romantic relationship with someone of the same gender is quite appropriately called "Le Fou."

  •  Wilebo's picture
    Wilebo
    Posted: Fri, 03/24/2017 12:33 pm

    "Let Me Make the Songs of a Nation, and I Care Not Who Makes Its Laws."  Andrew Fletcher. We fail to be descerning and teach descernment. Frances Schaeffer stated that the media, arts and entertainment, are part of the pillars that influences our culture. Like the frog in the pot, why do we continue to support these entities that do not have our interest at heart? 

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