Disney has appealed to the Malaysian Home Ministry to overturn a decision to cut a “gay moment” in its film, Beauty and the Beast, New Straits Times Online reported on Friday.
Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, head of Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board, told AFP that an appeal was sent by Disney to the Home Ministry.
The film, featuring Harry Potter star Emma Watson, had raised hackles 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 out LGBT character.
Malaysia made cuts to a song featuring Le Fou and Disney initially said it would show the censored version of the film, effectively shelving plans to release it in Malaysia.
Abdul Hamid said the cuts concerned a song featuring Le Fou. “The way he dances is gay and the dialogue and the lyrics of the song are too. In the same scene he also lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy,” he said, adding “Even I wanted to bring my grandchildren to watch it. But there are rules. We won’t support LGBT.”
Disney has now postponed the Malaysian release of the film until March 30 from originally schedule of March 16 to give the authorities time to rule on the matter.