Disney rejects Malaysia's Beauty and the Beast censorship

The film's "gay moment" continues to cause controversy ahead of its release...

Disney rejects Malaysia's Beauty and the Beast censorship

A poster of Beauty and the Beast displayed at a Golden Screen Cinemas theatre in Kuala Lumpur on March 14 (Credit Image: © Chris Jung via ZUMA Wire)

Disney has confirmed that will not allow Malaysia's film censorship board to cut a "gay moment" from Beauty and the Beast.

The entertainment giant has instead pulled the live action update of the beloved animation classic from all cinemas in the south-east Asian nation.

The Malaysia Censorship Board (LPF) had proposed removing a scene in which LeFou (Josh Gad) dances with another man.

A Disney spokesperson told Bloomberg:

“The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia."

Golden Screen Cinemas, Malaysia's largest cinema chain, has now been instructed by Disney to postpone showings of the film.

Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Halim, chairman of the Malaysia Censorship Board (LPF), previously told AP that there had been a "minor cut" concerning a "gay moment" in the film:

"We have approved the film so there is no more issue with the LPF. Once a film receives approval, it means it can be screened. However, the date of screening and where the screening takes place is not under LPF's jurisdiction. We only look at the content and give a decision on whether the movie gets approved or not."

Actor Josh Gad, left, who plays manservant LeFou and Luke Evans who plays villain Gaston, pose during a promotional event for the movie "Beauty and the Beast", in Paris (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Homosexual activity is illegal in Malaysia and carries a punishment of whipping and up to 20 years in prison.

While films featuring the depiction of homosexuals is permitted, those characters must be shown either in a negative light or repenting for their actions.

Disney's stance against the proposed censorship comes hot-on-the-heels of resistance to the film in other territories.

In Alabama, the owners of the Henagar Drive-In posted on Facebook that they would not screen the film to the presence of a gay character.

The post read:

"When companies continually force their views on use we need to take a stand. If we can not take our 11-year-old granddaughter and eight-year-old grandson to see a move 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.

"I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That's fine ... 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."

Russia approved showings of the film for audiences ages 16 and above last week, following concerns that the it be breaching the country's anti-"gay propaganda" laws.

Ultra-conservative MP Vitaly Milonov had urged officials to ban the film, asking Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to check it for 'homosexual propaganda' in a letter that was seen and reported by state news agency RIA Novosti.

He urged the Culture Minister to hold a preview screening of the movie to ensure that it complied with the law and to "take measures to totally ban the showing of this film" if he found "elements of propaganda of homosexuality."

Milonov said:

“In this situation, society cannot look on silently at what movie distributors are offering under the guise of a children’s tale – the blatant, shameless, unscrupulous propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relations."