Gay moment in Beauty and the Beast 'light', says Home Ministry

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR


PUTRAJAYA: The gay moment in the Beauty and the Beast film is considered 'light' and will not affect the positive elements in the movie.


Home Ministry said the Malaysian Film Appeals Committee (JKRF) has considered the appeal made by the film producer Walt Disney Pictures and decided to approve the screening with a PG13 rating.


It said JKRF is an independent committee established in accordance with Film Censorship Act 2002, and not bound by the decision of Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF).


"JKRF has the authorisation to approve, alter or object the LPF's decision.


"Therefore, it is baseless to say that LPF had made a U-turn in its decision to filter Beauty and the Beast. The LPF and JKRF are two different bodies and this shows that there are check and balance elements in the process of film censorship in the country," it said in a statement, today.


The Ministry was responding to Disney's Beauty and the Beast issues, which is set to be screened tomorrow without any cuts.


Several non-governmental organisations had lodged police reports to protest the screening as its gay character “goes against the religious and cultural values of Malaysia.”


The film was originally scheduled for release on March 16 but was postponed pending an "internal review."


It was reported that the LPF had cut several scenes involving a gay character in the film, but after protests from Walt Disney, it agreed to pass it with no cuts.


The Ministry reiterated that the postponement of the movie release had nothing to do with LPF.


"The LPF had watched the movie on Feb 17. It has given its approval with alteration involving three cuts and one dialogue was silenced. The initial alteration was made as the movie contains elements that promote gay lifestyle.


"As provided under the Film Censorship Act 2002, any party dissatisfied with the LPF's decision can file an appeal to JKRF within 30 days from the date the decision was made. The Walt Disney Pictures and its distributor Buena Vista Columbia Tristar Films (M) Sdn Bhd had submitted appeals to JKRF on March 20," it said.


The film was embroiled in controversy after its director Bill Condon said in an interview with a magazine that the character Le Fou, played by Josh Gad, is gay.


The film has been classified P13, which means audiences below the age of 13 years need parental guidance when viewing it.


Starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston, Beauty and the Beast is a live-action remake of Disney's classic animated feature, which became the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1991.