The backlash over a major gay character appearing in Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is rising, putting a theater in Alabama and Russian government officials on common ground.
A Henegar, Ala., drive-in theater has canceled plans to screen Beauty, while the Russian government is considering a ban of the film following revelations that the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is gay.
Representatives of the Henagar Drive-In Theater announced on Facebook Thursday that they will not be showing Beauty because Disney is “premiering their first homosexual character.”
“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine,” the unsigned Facebook post states. “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches.”
The post added that the theater would continue to show “wholesome” movies so patrons would not worry “about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon told USA TODAY on Friday, in response to the Alabama theater’s decision, that the outcry over the first gay character in a Disney movie is “overblown.”
“My message is: This is a movie for everyone. I’m sad about that theater but there are 4,000 theaters showing the movie,” Condon said. “I hope everybody moves past that and just goes to take pleasure in what we made.”
On Saturday, reports emerged of Russia’s displeasure over the character. Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said the film would be screened prior to the March 16 release there and action would be taken if the content breached the country’s internationally condemned law prohibiting the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors, the BBC reported on Saturday.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Bryan Alexander