Reacting to the news that Disney will feature its first-ever gay character in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake, the Charlotte-based evangelical preacher, Franklin Graham, has called on Christians to boycott Disney and the film.
In a post to his Facebook page earlier this week that has been shared by tens of thousands of his social media followers, Graham accused Disney of “trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children,” WRALreports.
He warned his Facebook followers to beware of Disney’s efforts to lure “our children” into gay lifestyle and promote the “gay agenda.”
Graham said that because the U.S. is a “free country,” Disney has the “right to make their cartoons.” But he insisted that Christians also have the right not to support a company that promotes the “gay agenda,” according to the Huffington Post.
“As Christians we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney.”
Graham’s call for a boycott of Disney over its first-ever gay character comes after Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon revealed that Gaston’s friends, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, will be shown confronting his feelings for Gaston, played by Luke Evans.
According to Condon, in the remake of Beauty and the Beast, which features Emma Watson as Belle, LeFou will be featured exploring his sexuality.
LeFou, according to Condon, is confused about his feelings. But he gradually confronts and acknowledges it.
“It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie,” Condon said, according to Attitude magazine.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon continued. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing 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.”
Josh Gad, who plays LeFou, toldUSA Today that he was proud of his role in extending and developing further on the original character of LeFou in the animated version by “giving him dimension [and] making him human.”
“What was most important to me was taking a character that is wonderful and so iconic, but is defined by cartoon conceits in the (original) movie… and expanding on that, giving him dimension, making him human,” Gad said during the world premiere of the new film on Thursday.
However, he pointed out that the Beauty and the Beast script did not say that “LeFou is gay.” According to Gad, there was nothing in the script that explicitly said LeFou is a gay character.
But merely pointing out that the Beauty and the Beast script did not say that LeFou is gay is unlikely to appease Franklin Graham and his evangelical Christian supporters who object on religious grounds to the inclusion of a gay character in the new Disney movie.
The decision by Disney to include a gay character in its remake of Beauty of the Beast reportedly prompted a theater in Alabama to cancel plans to screen the remake, according to a previous report by the Inquisitr.
But meanwhile, Disney Channel has also reportedly aired its first-ever same-sex cartoon kiss. The cartoon gay kiss occurred during the animated Disney show Star vs. The Forces of Evil.
The show’s main character was attending a concert when several heterosexual pairs were shown kissing. But the scene also included two men kissing, the Huffington Postreported.
The scene represents the latest move in ongoing efforts by Disney to promote LGBTQ-friendly programming. Earlier in 2014, Disney Channel featured a lesbian couple on Good Luck Charlie.
A same-sex couple also appeared in the animated series Gravity Falls.
[Featured Image by Elise Amendola/AP Images]