Beauty and the Beast only allowed to be screened with cuts, says Nur Jazlan

KLUANG: The Home Ministry will not entertain requests by the Walt Disney Company for Beauty and the Beast to be screened without cuts.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that the movie would be allowed to be screened only if Disney was agreeable to the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) censoring the offending scene.

He added that the company would likely have accepted the cut if it had been done by a country with a bigger film market than Malaysia, like China, Russia or the United States.

"I believe if these countries had ordered Disney to cut the scene, the company would obey as it would not want to forego the huge income from ticket sales," said Nur Jazlan.

The Deputy Home Minister said this in a press conference after attending an event at Simpang Renggam prison here on Saturday.

It was reported on Thursday that Disney had filed an appeal with the Home Ministry over a decision to snip a scene in the film.

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid confirmed that the appeal was lodged with the ministry's Film Appeal Committee but added that although the final decision on whether to release the film in its original version was up to the ministry, the board stood by its decision to cut the offending scene.

Starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston, Beauty and the Beast is a live-action remake of Disney's classic animated feature which became the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1991.

The controversy arose when director Bill Condon said that the character of LeFou, played by Josh Gad, would have a "nice exclusively gay moment" in the film.

Abdul Halim was reported as saying that the "gay moment" concerned a song featuring Le Fou, during which he "lifted up his shirt and showed a love bite on his tummy".

The film was originally scheduled for release on Thursday, but was held back after the board ordered the scene to be cut.

Disney Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd said the release date would be postponed pending an "internal review".

However, Disney USA said it would not allow any scene to be cut.