Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast is coming to a town near you on March 17 – as long as the movie theater in your city is cool with potentially gay fictional characters.
In northern Alabama for example, the Henagar Drive-In Theatre is boycotting the movie under the pretext that one of its characters is a little too flamboyant.The character that is causing the incredibly ridiculous fuss is villainous brut Gaston’s goon, LeFou. He was this goofy dope in the movie.
In the live-action version, LeFou will be played by actor Josh Gad, who hams it up on the camera with moves the Alabama theater’s owner considers as some sort of homosexual seduction dance.
“It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing ‘Beauty and the Beast,'” read a message on the Facebook page of the Henagar Drive-In Theatre.
While the owners have not yet seen the movie, they’re most likely referring to the recent reports regarding the movie’s director Bill Condon, revealing that LeFou does have an ambiguously homosexual undertone. Condon recently told the British gay magazine Attitude, “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 realizing that he has these feelings.”
Even the director alluding to the sexuality of a make-believe character proved too much for the theater’s management, who said in the Facebook post: “We will 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.”
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds a little bit exaggerated; if there’s anything Disney movies are known for, it’s being family-safe entertainment where villains only die from falling off cliffs and the most sexual thing that ever happens is when a prince kisses a princess.
The Alabama theater isn’t the only place that won’t tolerate the dancing and singing of an ambiguously gay character. Russia could ban the movie too. The country has a history of not being exactly gay-friendly, and Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has urged the government to ban the film, calling it “a blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships” (really, he got all that from a Disney movie?). By the way, that “perverted sexual relationship” that he’s referring to, is simply a scene where everyone is dancing, switching partners, and where LeFou finds himself paired with another man. In the comedic moment, the two awkwardly freeze and the camera cuts away. It’s a split-second gag, but far too much for Vitaly Milonov to stomach. Russia’s Ministry of Culture has not yet issued a ruling on the movie.
While the Henagar Drive-In Theatre has received both support and criticism for its stance on the movie, it isn’t the first time a Disney character’s sexuality has been called into question. Some fans of the hugely popular Frozen questioned Elsa’s sexuality and urged for Disney to give her a girlfriend in the sequel with the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend.
Other theaters may follow and pass on the cash cow that Beauty and the Beast is going to be, and Elsa may not have a girlfriend in the Frozen sequel, but one thing is almost certain. There is going to be a day when Disney reveals its first openly gay princess. Hopefully, she’ll just have better dance moves than LeFou.