Minor spoiler warning
The live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” opened with a box office record of more than $170 million during its opening weekend, but news sites and blogs have focused more on what The Attitude calls “the Gay moment.” Referring to LeFou’s character being homosexual, the character’s change received backlash and support weeks prior to its release, with petitions on sites Change.org and LifePetitions.com calling for the scene to be removed.
According to USA TODAY, the uproar may be about nothing. There were three scenes in question: one where LeFou dances with Gaston; another where LeFou seems to be okay dancing with another man in the grand finale; and one where three men are dressed in women’s clothing by the Wardrobe. Some online users said Lefou was already “basically” gay from the way he adores Gaston. With the Wardrobe scene, critics saw the instance as pure comic relief.
According to Entertainment News, this is the first Disney movie to normalize gay orientation and condone homosexual behaviors. Slate’s Culture Blog writers Jeffrey Bloomer and David Canfield say the moments are very subtle and go unnoticed by the younger audiences.
Lani Fisher, a sophomore in peacebuilding from Big Island and Japan, said “I think it was a marvelous movie. There were a lot of humorous lines and puns here and there that made me love and enjoy the story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ better!
I especially appreciated the fact that they involved mixed races in the movie. I think the way they embraced homosexuality [supported] the message of the story, which is to love and appreciate each other’s differences as much as each other’s similarities.”
Reuben Scalese, a junior from Washington D.C. studying business, said he loved seeing the “Disney classic” brought to life. “I enjoyed how they stuck to the original story, songs, and characters mostly, but still had some Hollywood humor to make it different enough to enjoy.
There was an ‘undertone’ of this gay character, which a lot of people threw a fit about. However, I thought it was kind of funny and nothing out of the ordinary to what we already see occasionally in society.”
A student, who wanted to be anonymous for personal reasons, said that if the gay moment wasn’t pointed out, she probably wouldn’t have given it much more thought.
As of April 20, 2017, “Beauty and the Beast” has grossed more than one billion dollars worldwide, with a domestic gross of almost $460 million.