Here's a tale as old as time: Progress is made, and people can't handle it.
Disney has announced that it is indefinitely pulling Beauty and the Beast from movie theatres in Malaysia over demands from censors there to cut a scene that suggests Gaston's sidekick LeFou (played by Josh Gad) is gay. It is now unclear if the film will be released in the country, where taking part in homosexual activities is illegal.
"The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” Disney said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg News.
Earlier in the week Malaysia's Film Censorship Board stated that it would give the film a PG-13 rating and approve its release provided the scene, which runs about four minutes long, was removed from the film. Director Bill Condon has described the scene in which LeFou dances with another man as an "exclusively gay moment," while Gad has called it "subtle."
""We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment," its chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told the Associated Press. "It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie."
The film, which opens Friday, March 17, has already been given an adult rating in Russia because of the controversial scene, which one politician branded as "homosexual propaganda." There's been criticism stateside as well, with the owners of an Alabama drive-in theatre announcing that they would not screen the film, which stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.
Actor Ewan McGregor, who voices the role of Lumière, spoke out against the conservative response during his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week.
"It’s just like, he’s a gay character and it’s 2017 for fuck’s sake,” the Scottish star fired back.
"There’s a lot of gay sex in this cartoon, and I think if you live anywhere near Alabama you should not go and see this film," he joked. "What would Jesus think?”