Despite it initially looking like Malaysian Beauty and the Beast fans would never get their happily ever after, it appears as though the film will now be allowed to screen in the country.
Following the Malaysia's censorship board requesting that Disney remove around four minutes of the film which included "a gay moment," the film was then submitted to the Film Appeals Committee, a separate entity which has the power to reverse the censorship board's decision. Ultimately it seems as though the film was given the OK to screen with no cuts, though was given a PG-13 rating.
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Earlier in March it was announced that the live action Beauty and the Beast would include Disney's first openly gay character — Le Fou (Josh Gad), the bumbling side-kick to the handsome Gaston (Luke Evans). While this was a landmark occasion for the House of Mouse, it was immediately met with backlash from more conservative markets such as Russia, who have since given the film a 16+ rating.
But while Russia was quick to keep the film out of reach for younger audiences, that's still a much more relaxed approach than Malaysia. The official censors in Malaysia approved the released of Beauty and the Beast on the condition that about 4.5 minutes of a subplot containing a "gay moment" would be removed from the film.
#LGBT rights are mostly unrecognized in Malaysia, with sodomy still a crime punishable with jail time, and the country's attitudes towards the LGBT community are largely shaped by Islam, the country's official religion. While gay characters may be included in films shown in Malaysia, it's on the condition that the character becomes heterosexual by the end of the film.
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But while Malaysian censors might have standards for films, so do #Disney. In response to the Malaysian request to omit the "gay moment," Disney instead decided the Malaysian censors could pull Beauty and the Beast completely, issuing a statement which said "the film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia."
Malaysia's tough censorship laws have resulted in many films or television shows being banned from the country in the past, including Fifty Shades of Grey, Family Guy, Step Brothers, Barney's Great Adventure, The Prince of Egypt, Babe and Babe: Pig In The City.
Beauty and the Beast is in theaters from March 17