Does all the Negativity Over Disney’s Gay Character in “Beauty and the Beast” Make Sense?

beauty and the beast disney gay character lefou

Disney’s upcoming Beauty and The Beast seems to be surrounded by all kinds of drama these days. Is it all warranted? Let’s find out!

This post contains spoilers regarding the ‘exclusively gay’ moment in Beauty and the Beast

The internet reacted passionately when it was revealed that a character in Beauty and the Beast was going to come out as gay. Some welcomed this change while others shared their disappointment. Being angry over Disney introducing its first gay character makes sense, especially when the said character plays into queer stereotypes. This post nicely sums up why people are concerned with such representation.

Some people have started to react outside the internet too. Not because they feel that Disney’s upcoming representation won’t be respectful but because they don’t want the “gay agenda” being pushed down their kid’s throats.

American Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, son of evangelist preacher Billy Graham, posted on Facebook about boycotting the film because it was attempting “to normalize this lifestyle.” He also went on to say that Walt Disney would be “shocked” if he saw what his company was doing. Because apparently, Franklin understands how Walt Disney’s mind worked after meeting him when he was a kid.  

Furthermore, a drive-in theater in Alabama has decided to not show the film because of the gay character. They also mentioned something about needing to “watch wholesome movies.”

Russia is jumping on the ban-the-queer bandwagon too. Vladimir Medinsky, the Russian culture minister, told BBC News that his department will be looking into if the film should be banned. “As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law.”

Beauty and the Beast is slated for a 16th March release date in Russia. So, let’s see if it’ll play or not.

The film’s director Bill Condon, an openly gay man who was more than happy to tell the world about Disney being progressive with a messy character, also commented on the disapproving reception. Talking to ScreenCrush he said, “It’s part of just what we had fun with… I feel like the kind of thing has been, I wish it were – I love the way it plays pure when people don’t know and it comes as a nice surprise.”

I mean if he wanted it to be a “nice surprise” he should’ve kept quiet about it. Disney wanted to pat itself on the back for something that doesn’t cut it as queer representation, and receiving such a reaction does seem warranted.

I say that it doesn’t cut it as queer representation because as Cordon states “It’s part of just what we had fun with.” And that’s exactly what LeFou (played by Josh Gad) is in the film, a joke.

He’s shown pinning for Gaston throughout the film, and then during the finale, for (I guess) four seconds, we get a scene where he happily dances with a man. Yup! That’s the “exclusively gay moment” Bill Cordon couldn’t wait to share with everyone before the film’s release and is now saying that it was meant to be a surprise.

Disney has no trouble allowing openly queer actors play or voice major roles. Luke Evans plays Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, and Jonathan Groff voiced Kristoff in Frozen. But I guess even in 2017 when queer representation has become all the more important Disney isn’t ready to deliver on something that matters when it comes to its fictional characters.

What do you think of Beauty and the Beast introducing Disney’s first gay character? Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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