Conservative groups in Asia—including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore—have drawn ire from human rights activists for their call to boycott the Disney film over the inclusion of a gay character.
In the film, the character LeFou—sidekick to the main villain Gaston—expresses affection for his macho boss and also dances with a man at a ball. Director Bill Condon said in an interview earlier this month that the “nice, exclusively gay moment” was a first for a Disney film.
In Malaysia, Disney rebuffed officials’ demands for the censorship of 4.5 minutes of footage deemed to depict homosexuality, putting the film’s release in the country in jeopardy.
In neighbouring Singapore, the national council of churches said in a statement that some Christian leaders were “deeply concerned about the LGBTQ representation in this new Disney movie”.
Singapore’s censors gave the film a PG rating, meaning it is deemed suitable for all ages, with the caveat that parents are advised to accompany their children.
In Hong Kong, an anti-gay group on Wednesday submitted a petition to the city’s film classification authority opposing its decision to classify Beauty and the Beast as suitable for all ages.