Prior to its international release, which is set for later on this week, the live-action remake of '#Beauty and the Beast' has already sparked major international controversy. As the first #Disney film with an #Openly Gay character, 'Beauty and the Beast' has become a hot button topic, although there is no mention of gay marriage or a stance for or against such. In fact, when interviewed, Josh Gad who plays the character in question LeFou, stated that the topic of gay marriage is not something he felt comfortable discussing and in no way is related to the Disney film.

International bans

In an arguably knee-jerk reaction, cinemas internationally have made moves to ban the film, in some cases prior to any pre-screening.

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A cinema in rural Alabama in the United States falls into this category with their choice to ban the film. The Henager Drive-In in posted to their Facebook page,We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. You can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language. This decision was made prior to any choice on Disney’s behalf as to whether the movie would even be released to the small rural town. Disney has not issued a statement.

In an interesting turn, this same cinema is reported to have accidentally scheduled a film about drag queens called Fierce. This film is in fact, a documentary depicting the International Drag Festival in Texas. When contacted for a statement the owners of the cinema stated that they thought the film was a Game of Thrones style film, about dragons”.

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It has since been removed from the schedule.

Russia calls for children's film to be banned for under 16s

Across the ocean Disney's film 'Beauty and the Beast' has been banned for any children under the age of 16 as a result of “gay propaganda” laws by Russia’s Culture Ministry. This decision was made in lieu of the initially proposed outright ban.

In addition, Malaysia has postponed the film's release in order to conduct a more extensive review.

Josh Gad has since been interviewed on his representation of LeFou and expressed that sexuality was not meant to take centre stage, but rather to create a more complex and dynamic character. With this element, he describes LeFou of now having pathos, and an arc only adding to the overall richness of the film. Other actors in the film including Emma Watson, have described the backlash as overblown, stating that viewers should not expect the sexuality of character LeFou to be anything more than a subtle detail.