It’s a “tale as old as time,” but as Disney prepared to release its $300 million movie, controversy arose over one of the movie’s minor characters.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon said. “He’s confused about what he wants.”
People have reacted differently to this news. The fact that LeFou, whose name translates from French directly to “the fool,” is dumb, illiterate and submissive has made some people upset that this is the character who will represent the gay community.
The Henagar Drive-in Theatre in Alabama posted on its Facebook page that the theater would not show the highly anticipated movie.
“We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language,” said the theater management in its statement. “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it.”
A formal petition on lifepetition.com has reached over 138,020 signatures as of April 14. The petition states, “Children’s movies are no place for promoting a harmful sexual political agenda, one that offends the deeply held beliefs of countless parents and families. I pledge to boycott both the “Beauty and the Beast” movie, and other Disney films and products, until such a time as Disney commits itself to protecting, not harming, the innocence of our children.”
Russia released the movie for adults only, and Malaysia considered censoring the gay moment in the movie.
On the other hand, Attitude Magazine’s editor-in-chief Matt Cain applauds Disney for its bravery.
“The studio is sending out a message that this [homosexuality] is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay,” Cain said.
USA Today reported Gad, who is known for his voice of Olaf in Disney’s “Frozen,” finds the controversy over LeFou overblown.
“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,” Gad said. “I’m honored to have that moment as part of my character’s arc.”
He added other themes in the movie are more worthy of discussion like idea of not judging a book by its cover or giving into the fear of the unknown.
The #BoycottDisney campaign sparked via Twitter promotes the boycott of the entire company and raised the question if Disney would lose money over this gamble.
However, “Beauty and the Beast” grossed over $174 million in its opening weekend, the highest of any PG movie and March opening weekend, and has grossed nearly $700 million worldwide in 10 days. In addition, the movie was ranked the third most anticipated movie of 2017 with its teaser trailer reaching a record 92 million views in the first 24 hours of its release.
In essence, “Beauty and the Beast” brings together generations of people. It can be nostalgic for those who grew up with the 1991 original but also provides a completely new way to look at the old classic. Its powerful messages, musical numbers (which included four new songs for the new version) and animation are quintessential reflections of the Disney legacy.
“Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline and runs for 2 hours and 9 minutes.
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