A theater in Alabama has canceled screenings of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast over the film featuring a gay character.
The new owners of Henagar Drive-In Theatre in DeKalb County explained their decision on Facebook, saying that the move might be controversial, but as Christians, the theater will only show “wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality, and foul language.”
“If we cannot take our 11-year-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson to see a movie, we have no business watching it,” the page reads. “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it.”
The character in question, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is Disney’s first openly LGBTQ role. Director Bill Condon told Attitude magazine that LeFou is “confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it.”
Critics, however, have pointed out that LeFou doesn’t even seem explicitly gay. “Josh Gad, incidentally, plays Gaston’s worshipful stooge LeFou as maximally silly and fawning, but I must have missed the memo where that spells ‘gay,’” Owen Gleiberman wrote at Variety. The Daily Dot’s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw also called LaFou a clownish “dweeb who hopelessly pines after a muscular straight guy,” which is hardly a great look for the LGBTQ community.
Regardless, for every “wholesome” person who’s against seeing the film, there will likely be thousands of others who’ll pay to see the musical numbers, Belle’s ballgowns, and also what Cordon calls “an exclusively gay moment.”