Despite getting approval from Malaysian censors for a modified version of the film, Disney has pulled Beauty and the Beast from release in the Southeast Asian country.
Malaysia's two main theatres have confirmed that screenings of Beauty and the Beast have been suspended indefinitely. The move comes even though Disney submitted a version of the movie with a minor cut to a scene that involved "a gay moment".
"We have approved it but there is a minor cut involving a gay moment. It is only one short scene but it is inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie," Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, chair of the Malaysia's Film Censorship Board, explained to AP. The scene is believed to involve Gaston's sidekick LeFou, who director Bill Condon said would have "a nice, exclusively gay moment" in an interview with Attitude.
Disney later told Bloomberg via email that Beauty and the Beast "has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia".
Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia to this day, and the country's censors have maintained strict restrictions on the depiction of same-sex relationships, characters and scenes in film and TV as a result. Regulations were eased seven years ago to allow gay characters to be shown, but they must be portrayed negatively or show repentance for their sexual identity.
Malaysia isn't the only country to impose restrictions on Beauty and the Beast. Russian censors have given the movie a 16+ rating, following petitions from a Russian MP to ban the film entirely over the inclusion of a homosexual character.