Emma Watson poses in front of an arrangement of red roses for Beauty and the Beast premiere.

‘Beauty And The Beast’ Release Postponed In Malaysia, And Twitter Isn’t Happy

The Beauty And The Beast remake was supposed to be Disney’s baby. It was the perfect mixture of nostalgia and live-action, with so much box office promise that the company was practically foaming at the mouth before pre-production.

However, there’s been a bit of drama regarding this 2017 version of Beauty And The Beast. Gay character Lefou, as depicted in the film, is the epicenter of this controversy.

Beauty and the Beast releases Firday, March 17 worldwide.
The cast of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ pose in Los Angeles, California at the World Premiere. [Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]

And, as BBC reports, the release date of Beauty And The Beast may be postponed in Malaysia because of it.

More specifically, Disney has decided not to go through with the release there just yet, pending an “internal review.”

As the Financial Times reports, Malaysia’s film censorship rules are still pretty strict, despite being eased in 2010. They allow for the depiction of gay characters in film but only if they show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light by the film’s conclusion.

Furthermore, sodomy is punishable with a custodial sentence in Malaysia, which explains why Disney postponed the release of Beauty And The Beast.

For one thing, Twitter is kind of furious over the news.

While Disney always has been a progressive and inclusive company, this is the first bold step for them towards depicting gay characters on screen.

The Huffington Post reports that Emma Watson downplayed the significance of gay character Lefou in Beauty And The Beast.

“I think that what’s so fantastic about Josh’s performance is that it’s so subtle,” Watson said.

“I don’t want people going into this movie thinking that there’s like a huge narrative there. There really isn’t. It’s incredibly subtle, and it’s kind of a play on having the audience go, ‘Is it, or is it not?’ I think it’s fun. I love the ambiguity there.”

The 'Beauty and The Beast' release in Malaysia is postponed, due to gay character Lefou posing possible film censorship problems.
Luke Evans and Josh Gad belt out a musical number from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the World Premiere in Los Angeles. [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

For Emma Watson, the company’s inclusion of a gay character on screen isn’t directly in front of the audience the whole time–in fact, it’s a very faint inclusion that makes a bit of sense considering who the characters are.

That’s what gives this whole narrative an interesting spin. As Watson said, Disney didn’t give the gay character in Beauty And The Beast too much of a spotlight. It was more of just a slight addition. Perhaps recognizing the level of subtleness in Lefou could be enough to sway countries like Malaysia to allow the film to be shown.

For now, the entire Twittersphere will continue to voice their displeasure with Disney’s move to cancel showings of Beauty And The Beast in Malaysia–particularly those that live in Malaysia and were looking forward to its release.

While many on Twitter are saying that Beauty And The Beast is banned in Malaysia, we want to make it very clear that Disney is pulling the strings here, not Malaysia. Disney has postponed the release of Beauty And The Beast in the country because of Malaysia’s film censorship laws.

Beauty And The Beast will be released in the United States on March 17, 2017. It stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad.

[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]

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