In the game of chicken that Disney has been playing with the Malaysian censors, the House Of Mouse has won. Last week, just a few days before it was due for release, Disney pulled the movie from release in Malaysia due to cuts to LGBT-related content that had been demanded.
Although Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board said it was just a small cut they wanted to the very end of the movie, it turned out it was much more, with reports they wanted the entire ‘Gaston’ musical number removed, due to the fact at one point two men hug. Disney refused and the Censorship Board then tried to deflect blame, saying they would have probably allowed the movie through, if director Bill Condon hadn’t talked about the ‘gay moment’ and (in their eyes) forced them to act.
Initially neither side seemed to want to back down, but now the Film Censorship Board has decided they will allow the movie to screen intact, with the equivalent of a PG-13/12 rating. It will now be released in Malaysia on March 30th.
Gay sex is still illegal in Malaysia and discrimination is pervasive, with one of the lowest levels of acceptance of homosexuality by society in Asia, and in recent years the situation has arguably gotten worse.