Disney's Beauty And The Beast had a fantastic debut weekend offshore as well as in domestic theatres. However, unfortunately the film is not screening in Malaysia, after the local censor approved it with "a minor cut involving a gay moment."
Disney postponed the release, saying that the film "has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia," Deadline reported.
According to an interview posted today by the New Sunday Times, Malaysia censorship board Chairman Abdul Halim said that the organization proposed four minutes and 38 seconds' worth of cuts. The statement is contradictory to his previous statement as it was told to the AP about a "minor cut."
According to the same report, today, he said that the board found "three parts" questionable - the first "during the performance of a song where a male character (LeFou) hugs the other (Gaston) from behind. Secondly is the suggestive song lyrics with sexual innuendos and the third is a scene that takes place at the end of the movie," Abdul Halim told the newspaper.
As sexual relations between men is a punishable offence in Malaysia, the gay characters can be depicted on - screen only if they show repentance or they are being portrayed in a negative light.
"Malaysia does not recognize the LGBT ideology," Halim says in an interview.
He further added, "So we have to be extra cautious in our work. We have our responsibilities to the country, the people and our constitution. If we let these scenes pass, people will wonder if Malaysia recognizes LGBT."
In Malayasia, the Film Appeals Committee which is a separate body to the censorship board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to screen the film and it holds the power to reverse the decision of the board.