The much-anticipated new Disney live-action film Beauty and the Beast is already raising eyebrows due to a controversial, first-ever openly gay subplot woven into the family movie. LGBTQ activists have applauded the decision to openly delve into the sexuality of Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, while many on the other side of the aisle have criticized the move by Disney.
As USA Today reports, the Disney gay subplot in Beauty and the Beast is being described as “small but significant,” and according to director Bill Condon, it deals directly with the relationship between Gaston and LaFou. Specifically, the internal struggle that the possibly gay Disney sidekick endures as the platonic “little buddy” of his potential love interest.
— Queerty (@Queerty) March 1, 2017
The role of LaFou is played by Josh Gad, and according to Condon, a Disney movie full of build-up leads to something “delicious,” an “exclusively gay” moment in the Disney film.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
The new Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast is set to hit theaters in just over two weeks — on March 17 — and the company’s brazen announcement that the movie includes a gay sidekick and even a notable “exclusively gay” moment is generating a lot of attention. Particularly because, while Disney has alluded to homosexuality in past children’s and family movies (remember the drama about Elsa?), this will be the very first time the family-friendly production company has integrated an openly gay subplot into a flick.
Shortly after it was announced that the upcoming Disney movie would feature a gay character, notoriously anti-gay religious leader Reverend Franklin Graham took to social media to decry the gay subplot and accuse Disney of promoting an LGBTQ “agenda” with their new film. As CNSNews reports, Graham accused Disney of trying to “normalize” homosexuality. He acknowledged in a March 2 Facebook post that Disney has the right to do these things, but called on Christians to “say no to Disney” in response.
— The 20 Talk Show ???? (@jammfamradio) March 2, 2017
In addition to complaining about the gay undertones in the new Disney Beauty and the Beast remake, Graham pointed out that the company has aired an under-the-radar animated gay kissing scene already. The moment came during the children’s cartoon Star vs. the Forces of Evil, and it went unnoticed by many — at least initially. Eventually the low-key animated same-sex kiss was turned into a meme and flooded social media.
According to the reverend, parents need to “watch out” for the tactics Disney is allegedly taking to push the gay “agenda.”
“They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out!”
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) March 1, 2017
Furthermore, Graham said in his Facebook post regarding Disney and the gay community that he believes that company founder Walt Disney (who the reverend claims to have met as a boy) would be “shocked” at what is being created by the company he built.
Not surprisingly, Disney fans and critics have also taken to social media to share their thoughts and feelings on the controversial gay subplot. Some appear to agree with Reverend Graham.
If you're gay that's on you,whatever you do behind close doors is your business..but for Disney to put that in cartoons is mind blowing!
— Bwizz (@Bwizz5) March 2, 2017
— THE JOKER (@THEJOKER20161) March 1, 2017
Some are super stoked for an openly gay Disney character, while others are upset that the openly gay character is LaFou and not (perhaps) a famous pair of buddies portrayed by a talking clock and candlestick.
If you have a problem with Disney airing a gay couple kissing but not a hetero couple kissing you're homophobic END OF STORY
— Robin (@rileen7) March 2, 2017
disney: we made a beloved character gay!!
me: is it the saucy candle guy and his platonic lifemate clock man
disney: ITS LEFOU
— ᴇ ʟ ɪ x ɪ ʀ✨ (@serpentstone) March 1, 2017
Hey Disney, making all your villains gay didn’t make me think gayness was bad it just made me E V I L
— Kate Leth ???? ECCC J6 (@kateleth) March 1, 2017
It remains unclear whether their first openly gay subplot will help Disney or hit them in the wallet when it comes to the new Beauty and the Beast. However, talk of the gay LaFou is generating major buzz for the movie.
What do you think? Will a gay subplot featuring the long-suffering LaFou impact whether or not you check out the new live-action Disney film Beauty and the Beast?
[Featured Image by John Phillips/Getty Images]