Beauty and the Beast features Disney’s first openly gay character, LeFou (Josh Gad), and according to the film’s director, Bill Condon, there is an “exclusively gay moment” involving LeFou and another character. Condon’s revelation has triggered some extreme reactions, including an Alabama-based theater refusing to screen Beauty and the Beast and Russia mulling banning the movie.
The gay moment in question shows LeFou “subtly flirting” with Gaston (Luke Evans), according to Entertainment Weekly (EW). Also, near the end, LeFou, who serves as the sidekick to Gaston, is shown dancing with another male character.
In the song “Gaston,” LeFou is seen giving Gaston a “shoulder rub and a few winks and nods,” according to Screen Rant.
Without watching the movie, the conservatives are up in arms against it because the Beauty and the Beast director told Attitude magazine that LeFou not only wanted to be like Gaston but also wanted to kiss him.
“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.”
He also said that there was a “payoff” at the end, adding that it was a “nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
The interview has set off a chain of extreme reactions from some quarters. On Friday, a representative of the Henagar drive-in theater posted on Facebook that they had no business showing Beauty and the Beast if they could not watch it with God or Jesus, according to Time. The post has since been deleted.
“For those that do not know Beauty and the Beast is ‘premiering’ their first homosexual character. The producer also says at the end of the movie ‘there will be a surprise for same-sex couples. If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”
The post also said that it was all right if some did not agree with the decision, adding that they are “first and foremost” Christians, and they would not “compromise” on what the Bible teaches.
“We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
The openly gay LeFou may also get the live-action remake of the animated Beauty and the Beast banned in Russia, where the film is scheduled to release on March 16. A Russian law describes homosexuality as “non-traditional sexual relations,” and it prohibits the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors, according to BBC.
BBC quoted an MP of United Russia party, Vitaly Milonov, as saying that the culture minister Vladimir Medinsky should ban the movie if he found that it features “elements of propaganda of homosexuality” after checking it. The culture minister has said that action would be taken if Beauty and the Beast did not comply with the Russian law.
“As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law.”
Moreover, Russian actor Pavel Derevyanko told Russia 24 that he would not take his kid to watch Beauty and the Beauty.
Meanwhile, Josh Gad is “very proud” of the gay moment at the end of the movie. Us Weekly quoted the Tony-nominated actor as saying that his character in the live-action Beauty and the Beast was more complex than the original.
“You know, I’m thrilled that this character, I think, veers in different directions than the original because he’s more complex.”
He called the 1991-original animated movie’s character a “bumbling fool,” adding that he wanted to add more dimensions to him.
“For me, it was important to add some dimension to him, to give him some pathos, to give him some heart, and there’s a moment at the end of the movie that’s very subtle, but that I’m very proud of, and I’ll let it speak for itself.”
Beauty and the Beast opens on March 17 in the U.S.
[Featured Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney]