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OPINION: The “gay moment” controversy over Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is beyond overblown

in Disney, Movies, Movies & TV

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Last week in an interview with British gay lifestyle magazine “Attitude”, Bill Condon– the openly gay director of Disney’s new live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast”— remarked that the movie would feature Disney’s first “exclusively gay moment”, centering around the character of LeFou (portrayed in the film by actor Josh Gad).

This past Sunday at the “Beauty and the Beast” press conference in Beverly Hills, California, Condon expanded upon and clarified his thoughts on the matter, saying:

“What is this movie about? What has this story always been about for three hundred years? It’s about looking closer, going deeper, examining people for who they really are. And in a very Disney way, we are including everybody. I think this movie is for everybody, and on the screen you’ll see everybody. That was important to me, and I think to all of us.”

WATCH “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” PRESS CONFERENCE (RELEVANT COMMENTS AT 16:28):

After Condon let those comments slip, and Josh Gad responded on Twitter by saying he is “beyond proud of this”, the inevitable controversy among the Disney fan community and movie audiences in general started to pick up steam.

But here is where it truly derails:

  • A drive-in theater in Alabama has publicly refused to show the film;
  • a mommy blogger took a highly-publicized stand by cancelling her family’s Disney vacation in retaliation;
  • and a petition against “Beauty and the Beast” has racked up more than a hundred thousand signatures.
  • Let me repeat that: More than one-hundred thousand people are publicly admitting to boycotting a Disney film on the grounds that they believe the film promotes a (their words) “harmful sexual political agenda.”

    Let that sink in for a second. Because of a so-called “gay moment,” this group believes the film is “harmful.”

    As you may have guessed based on my full review of the movie, I’ve seen the new “Beauty and the Beast” already. And the first thing I have to say is that the controversy is completely, astoundingly overblown.

    The “gay moment” referred to by Mr. Condon constitutes less than two full seconds of the finished film, and is preceded by maybe two or three glances between LeFou and Gaston (Luke Evans) and sight gags that would not have felt out of place in the original animated version.

    WATCH JOSH GAD AND LUKE EVANS PERFORM “GASTON” WITH COMPOSER ALAN MENKEN:

    Secondly, even if the gay undertones were less subtle, or if that moment at the film’s conclusion (I won’t spoil what it actually entails) had included a close-up smile from LeFou, as I had expected, it’s more than a little bit embarrassing to be part of a fan community that responds in this way to what can only be called progress.

    Disney already has a history of being incredibly friendly to the gay community, hosting “Gay Days” celebrations in the parks (unofficial events, though accompanied by official rainbow food and merchandise). Countless LGBT cast members are employed by the company, and even Oscar-winning lyricist Howard Ashman— who provided the words to the “Beauty and the Beast” songs so many Disney fans have memorized– was gay, not to mention a number of other members of the original film’s creative team.

    Disney Legend Howard Ashman. Image Copyright Disney.
    Disney Legend Howard Ashman. Image Copyright Disney.

    Ultimately, I hope people will take Condon’s words to heart, and for once actually learn a moral from the Disney movies they love so much.

    Accept others. Be okay with differences. Embrace diversity.

    If you’re tired of Hollywood “forcing” those ideas on you in every movie, maybe think about welcoming them. Then they won’t have to anymore.

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    Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will be released into theaters nationwide on Friday, March 17th.

    39 Comments

    1. Garaan

      Bravo.

    2. Joel

      I completely agree with this article. As a member of the gay community, it’s hard to feel as if you fit into this society. Especially now in the political state we’re in, hate has become socially acceptable. It’s sad that people would let a small undertone bother them. There is a higher suicide rate from those younger people who are dealing with bullying and not being socially accepted. Imagine if these young people got the love and help they deserve, they would be alive today. Those young people were most likely never apart of any gay agenda. They lost their fight because they felt alone and unaccepted, some even become homeless. I think that should be a cause these parents should be more concern about than an overblown undertone in a family film. Do those religious agenda parents also know that there’s a petition to make Elsa from the beloved animated film Frozen also gay. Being gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgender doesn’t make you into a harmful sexual political agenda. We are people who struggle with our differences as society looks at us as if we’re a disease and we’re going to infect others. If you consider yourself a good parent, you would occupy your time in teaching your child to embrace everyone’s differences. There are parents out there that allow their child to be different and embrace it. That child or person is going to live by far a happier life than those with the religious agenda. If we all were made to think or feel the same, we would be a boring society or as most would say “communist”.

    3. Lisa

      Unbelievable that people are so homophobic can’t shield your kids from it people . That is the world today if you don’t want to come to the parks well that’s fine by me less crowds at the park more enjoyment for me!!

    4. TimP

      “Embrace diversity” is anything but. Surely you’ll respect those that won’t sign on to the disrespect shown by the director. This plot change would otherwise be a minor misstep if not for the gay subplot played off for laughs. I’m just disturbed that people need to take their stand on a children’s film. If they wish to do so, pick another property to ruin. Ghostbusters was one.

      1. Andrew

        TimP. You and your ilk symbolize everything the village people embody when they go after the beast: low IQ, closed mindedness, hate, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, stupidity – just everything the Disney films fight against when they feature a villain. Did this detail go over your head?
        And Ghosbusters was ruined because…? You woman hater. A sa man, I loved Ghosbusters. The only ones ruining this world are people like you. You are the problem.

        1. TimP

          Are there enough “Andrews” to consume your own product? If they are not, then don’t blame the public who won’t buy in.

          The unsuccessful Ghostbusters does not in itself mean people hate women. Some just don’t think women are funny. Others don’t like a feminist message. The thing is Ghostbusters was sold as a feminist film. The movie has nothing to do with the story or why women replaced the male characters. The movie symbolized female empowerment with unfunny women.
          So am I the problem if I choose to keep my dollars in my wallet? I’m not picketing the movie. I’m avoid it.
          Actually, I didn’t say I’m not going to watch Beauty and the Beast. I will see it, but people like you concern me for there shouldn’t be politics in movies unless that’s the intent. I don’t actually care that the movie’s creators are largely gay. Nonetheless, the director exposed himself as having a gay agenda IN THE MOVIE and people have the right to avoid it.

          1. Emily

            The fact that gay people exist isn’t a political stance, dude. Yikes.

            1. TimP

              Gay shouldn’t be political, neither should being a woman, but everything is politics these days. Just because you want to hand wave these concerns doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It is especially concerning that the director has to change the meaning of the LeFou character. This is all about politics.

          2. Enter Ranting

            So, TimP, the gays can MAKE a movie, they just can’t appear on-screen, because that offends your delicate sensibilities. Got it.

            1. TimP

              Likely correct. Many actors are gay playing straight anyways. They get rich despite their orientation. Isn’t that the best of both worlds?

        2. Jeni

          Andrew why the hell would you include low iq into those hateful words? You are an asswipe who clearly knows nothing about empathy in the first place.

          1. Enter Ranting

            Great example of irony, Jeni. And hypocrisy. Keep up the good work…

    5. David

      Thanks for sharing this. I’d like to mention my favorite gay Disney role models: Timon & Pumba! They showed that same-sex parents can do a great job raising a kid who could become a king.

      1. Glenn

        Will you please explain where you get that Timon and Pumba are gay?

        1. David

          They’re a same-sex couple who spend all their time together and seem content not to look for other mates. They’re probably not literally a gay couple, because they’re different species. But I think it’s nice for kids with gay parents to be able to see an adopted kid with two father figures have a positive experience in a movie like that.

    6. James Yearsley

      Perhaps it is overblown because the 95% of the population that is not gay or lesbian is simply tired of hearing people like this producer define themselves on the basis of sexuality before all. Frankly most of us don’t give a damn who you sleep with.

    7. Greg

      Saying this is overblown certainly depends on your worldview. Obviously, this is the authors opinion. But why does it seem overblown? Is it because the scene would have hardly been noticed if the director had not publicly stated that he intentionally included a gay scene, minor as it may appear in the movie?
      That isn’t the point at all, for the majority of people, like myself, who will not see this move in theatres.
      I didn’t think Disney would go too far for their first foray into normalizing homosexuality in a children’s film, so I am not surprised they don’t show any same-sex making out, or include actual conversations about same-sex attraction.
      However, this is indeed their first foray into portraying same-sex attraction in a children’s film, and the directors comments make it quite clear that it was the intent.
      Simply put, I, as a Christian, do not agree with the gay lifestyle. This is not based on, nor does it include hatred of anyone who is gay. (See how Muslims view gays if you want to find hate). Based on that worldview, whether you agree with it or not, certainly you can understand why I would not want to go to, or take my kids to, a family film that has decided needs to promote said lifestyle.

      1. Joel

        We live in a world full of hate and yes people have the right to boycott. Sometimes the very reasons they boycott are contradicted by their actions. Yes, we should all respect one another’s opinions. However, there are many young children that are dealing with a conflict in their gender identity. To call that unnatural is full of hate and no sentiment. People in same sex relationships may not be able to reproduce as let’s say nature intended. Sometimes in nature there are even animals that mate with same sex. And you’ll be surprised with how children are more aware than you think about homosexuality. They’re not exposed to it to recruit them to be gay or to change them to be gay. Simply to know if they have feelings, it is not unnatural and that God loves everyone equally. Too many young people commit suicide because they don’t feel accepted or loved. Acceptance and love should be the agenda. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, with something as powerful as love and acceptance, we would live in a much better world. Love is love and it is as real from a homosexual couple than as heterosexuals who cheat and lie and break so many promised vows that were exchanged in a place of worship. Every human in existence has flaws and struggles with other ungodly and unnatural things. I think we have more to worry about than just a gay moment in a family film. People need to expand their minds. Gays are all over the place and here to stay.

      2. Enter Ranting

        Sooooo tired of “Christians” who don’t understand the first thing about Jesus’ teachings. Nice dig against Muslims while you’re at it, too. Chances are, your kids have a keener grasp on homosexuality than you do. No doubt you’re undertaking a correction of their thoughts on the subject based on biblical “interpretations”.

        1. TimP

          So you’re the non-Christian who knows more about Christian teachings than Christians. Well, there’s a word for that. You’re a deceiver.

          1. Enter Ranting

            Nope – grew up Catholic. Went to Catholic schools. Know all about Christianity. How about you?

    8. Tom

      You say “Accept Others” then tell people to shut up and accept only your thinking. Lmao wow. People like you are why this country is on the brink of a second civil war. I only hope you and yours are the first to die in it.

      1. David

        “Maybe think about welcoming them” isn’t exactly telling people to shut up.

      2. Kyle

        You obviously didn’t read the article, so no, it’s people like YOU who are currently ruining this planet. Open your eyes, since it’s clear you are the one who is eager to not accept others point of view on something that is in fact, completely overblown.

    9. Caleb

      I was considering not seeing the film after Bill Condon stated to the public that Lefou is gay and there was going to be some sort of “gay moment” at the end of the film. But after hearing this “gay moment” is really nothing at all I will more than likely see the film. As for those that boycotted this film I don’t blame them per se because I was very close at doing so myself. The way it sounded when it was announced
      there would be a “gay moment” sounded to me like there would be two men kissing or two men falling in love. So if people were going off that assumption I don’t blame them for wanting to boycott because I don’t want to see that kind of stuff either, especially in a Disney film. I know there are people that want to see more of that sort of thing in movies today and even in Disney movies and they’ll even say “it will help people see that there is nothing wrong with being gay and that it is completely natural.” People will hate me and call me names for this comment but nothing could be farther from the truth. We were created the way we are so we could be joined with the opposite sex. A husband joined with his wife. People will say ” well love is love no matter what sex you are” but if you have ever been in a bad relationship you can probably say you were maybe “in love” (or thought you were) with that person at some point. But looking back at said bad relationship you can also say that what you felt or experienced with that person was not real love. In reality, that feeling you felt was probably more of a crush, infatuation, and even just plain lust. Same thing here. It is not real love. It may look like love, sound like love, feel like love, smell like love but in the end not true love. For those that are in same sex relationships what they are in is just like I mentioned a moment ago a “bad relationship” based off of infatuation and lust. It’s not true love because it is a counterfeit of what God intended it to be between a man and a woman.

      1. Joel

        And I’m sure you’ll say when animals commit homosexual acts, its “unnatural”. Animals mate with the same sex almost all the time, and it’s as natural as it gets.

      2. Enter Ranting

        Caleb, you are profoundly misinformed on homosexual relationships. Or maybe you have feelings you don’t understand, and are in denial. Maybe what you need is more gay in your Disney entertainments. How are you, a simple human being, in a position to tell us what God intended?

        1. Caleb

          “Caleb, you are profoundly misinformed on homosexual relationships.” I assume you thought that I was saying that gay relationships are all about sex but that is not what I intended to say.
          “Or maybe you have feelings you don’t understand, and are in denial.” No, I like women.
          “How are you, a simple human being, in a position to tell us what God intended?”
          Well, I believe in the bible and it does say that it is wrong. But if you don’t believe in the bible then obviously you won’t agree.

    10. Casey

      Just to set things straight here and to clarify how crazy this whole boycott is, there is no boycott of it due to beastilality which is also forbidden in the bible and the whole movie is about. . . but a 2 second innuendo about a homosexual thought causes all this outrage, a christian woman (who if she feels so passionate about it, should have researched Disney a little more and watched the 1992 version anyway) to cancel her trip to Disney World and 100,000 people which many probably wouldn’t have gone anyway to sign a petition.

      Plain and simple it’s entertainment make your own choices but if you are appalled by the gay moment, you should have been against this film without it anyway just for the story.

      1. TimP

        If you wanted the original movie, she never wanted to pursue a relationship with a “beast”. She was willing to sacrifice herself to save her father. She became his ward. The servants saw an opportunity to manipulate her feelings to save themselves and become human again. The beast was an ugly person behind the façade. He became in appearance what he was behaving towards the old woman who put the curse on him. Nothing about their relationship was natural and normal.

        You twisted the analogy to compare the Beast and Belle with LeFou and Gaston. Must I also point out Gaston is not gay and LeFou was artificially made gay. Of course, it is pure comedy between Gaston and LeFou, but any man who has clearly poured his heart out for Belle will not find a gay moment with LeFou to be reaffirming. Maybe he isn’t so manly since it attracts the wrong team. LOL!!!

        Going to back to Belle and the Beast, the beast is now the prince and she is still confused. Will any woman be confused after such a dramatic situation? Ask the Bachelorette.

        1. Enter Ranting

          Tim, PLEASE don’t see this movie. It’s clear that you can’t handle it.

    11. Kai

      It’s going to be ok

    12. Sissa

      I think Greg’s comment said all:
      “Saying this is overblown certainly depends on your worldview. Obviously, this is the authors opinion. But why does it seem overblown? Is it because the scene would have hardly been noticed if the director had not publicly stated that he intentionally included a gay scene, minor as it may appear in the movie?
      That isn’t the point at all, for the majority of people, like myself, who will not see this move in theatres.
      I didn’t think Disney would go too far for their first foray into normalizing homosexuality in a children’s film, so I am not surprised they don’t show any same-sex making out, or include actual conversations about same-sex attraction.
      However, this is indeed their first foray into portraying same-sex attraction in a children’s film, and the directors comments make it quite clear that it was the intent.
      Simply put, I, as a Christian, do not agree with the gay lifestyle. This is not based on, nor does it include hatred of anyone who is gay. (See how Muslims view gays if you want to find hate). Based on that worldview, whether you agree with it or not, certainly you can understand why I would not want to go to, or take my kids to, a family film that has decided needs to promote said lifestyle.”

    13. Kirk

      Whether someone thinks this is overblown or not, is really getting away from the true story here. Namely, the director (and by default, Disney, since they did not contradict him) has clearly made a stand with a certain statement in this movie, no matter how innocuous it may appear to some. Thus, it should be no surprise whatsoever, that people who do not agree with that statement, or at least agree where it is being made (a kids movie) would also choose to make a statement in response. You could argue all day about whether the statement made is correct or not, but to call the response overblown is to clearly be swayed by one’s own viewpoint. I would wager that the same people that think this response is overblown, would also support a boycott on the Ivanka Trump clothing line. What has Ivanka said or done to deserve a boycott? One could argue it is overblown as well, but some people think that boycotting her is by default boycotting and standing up to her father. They certainly have that right, whether you agree with them or not. But to even call that overblown seems kind of silly. What you are essentially saying is, my opinion of what you should do in response to something you disagree with, is superior to your own opinion of how to react. Which frankly, comes across as arrogant.

      1. Joel

        I believe its overblown, however I don’t agree on boycotting Ivanka, as she has been most supportive on gay rights. Her and her husband have tried to influence Daddy Trump to not remove rights from Gays. Although the restroom rights for transgender is another story and I would hope she helps fight to protect them.

      2. Enter Ranting

        Kirk, Ivanka is an integral part of the Drumpf administration. Also, she rips off designs from other designers. Plus, her products are made overseas, and we should all know by now how her daddy feels about that. So, there are lots of reasons not to buy Ivanka’s wares.

        The problem with this movie isn’t whether the gay scene is overblown or not. The problem is that there are lots of so-called religious people who think gays are a lesser class of human beings. Or sinners. Or unnatural. That belief directly affects gay people, especially young people who are trying to figure things out.

        If this movie sheds light on that issue, then I say good on the director.

    14. Roman Jimenez

      This is such a stupid article. I am a 13 year old boy who believes in the LGBT community, however I feel that it is very inappropriate to promote such a hard subject in a CHILDREN’S movie. I hope I can remind all of you selfish adults that Disney movies are mostly for the children not as much for the adults. I thibk it is very SELFISH to put such a message in a Childrens movie and to ruin it in such a way. It was not the Directors job to change the movie his job was to do the movie just live action. I will never support thjs kind of bull shit. I will support the LGBT but I do not support promoting it. If you wish to promote the LGBT community you may do it in another movie with another studio. I will never support ITM like I used to. I absolutely hate you guys and I will spread that hate the way you feel the need to spread this gayness.😬😭😭😭💩👬👭👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩👈💖

      1. Syd Ziff

        WELL SAID!

    15. Syd Ziff

      I won’t take my kids to see any movie with homosexual undertones, overtones or inuendos. Such a waste of a good movie.

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