Remake of Beauty and the Beast Sparks Controversy Kaela Dockray

Fans excitedly anticipate the remake of a childhood favorite, "Beauty and the Beast." But to quote a lyric from one of the songs in this live-action film, “there may be something there that wasn’t there before.”

The adaptation includes “an exclusively gay moment” in which one of the characters, Lefou, would be shown questioning his feelings for the antagonist, Guston.

Actor Josh Gad plays Lefou, the controversial homosexual character.

The backlash over the homosexual character has gone international. On Saturday, March 4, Russian Culture Minister, Vladimir Medinsky, vowed to take action against the movie if it was found to be in violation of the country’s controversial “gay propaganda” law.

This statement was supported by Vitaly Milonov, an MP of the governing United Russia party, who urged Milinski to “take measures to totally ban” the film if “elements of propaganda of homosexuality” were found.

While the movie was not completely banned, Russian officials have rated the movie so viewers under the age of 16 are unable to see the film.

In addition to Russia, many conservatives' response to the inclusion of this scene was similar, as an Alabama movie theatre said it would not be releasing “Beauty in the Beast” because of its homosexual elements. “When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand,” the owner of the theatre wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “If we cannot take our 11-year-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson to see a movie, we have no business watching it.”

The reaction from much of the Staples Community was disgusted.

Maisie Prince (‘20) believes that it is especially important for children to watch this film. “Your childhood affects where you are going, and if you are told your whole life you can’t watch a movie because there is a gay character, you will ultimately have the mindset not to accept gay people.”

“Kids should be exposed to all types of people so they can accept others and even gain a better understanding of themselves”, Katie Baker (‘20) passionately advocates.

They both argue that to introduce this concept in a film that is otherwise so age appropriate and easy to understand is a perfect way to send a message that it is both natural and quite normal to be gay to an audience that is still shaping who they are and what they aspire to be.

Many feel that the banning of the movie in the Alabama theatre is a violation of our basic freedoms, as Siri Kanter (‘20) claims, “Not everyone in Alabama has the same political views as the person who banned this film. People should keep their personal opinions out of government regulations. Banning people from seeing this movie is restrictive and sends a message that being gay is not ok”.

Natasha Johnson (‘20), feels that "a movie theater is a public facility. It’s one thing if you don't want to send kids to something, but blocking it out of a public place just isn't right”.

The actor who plays Lefou, Josh Gad, says, "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.”

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