An Alabama theater has canceled its plan to screen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast due to the inclusion of a gay character.
The new owners of the Henagar Drive-In theater alerted its customers via Facebook that they have decided to not screen the film as previously planned after reports surfaced this week confirming the live-action remake’s version of LeFou (Josh Gad) is gay.
“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand,” read the post. “If we can not take our 11-year-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine … We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
In Beauty and the Beast (read EW’s review here), LeFou is the sidekick of vain villain Gaston (Luke Evans). He flirts with Gaston in several scenes and is later shown dancing with another male character during the film’s finale.
“Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn’t like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and that makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent,” Gad said at the film’s premiere. Of the finale, Gad called the dance scene “subtle but incredibly effective.”
Previously director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine that Beauty and the Beast would feature an “exclusively gay moment” with LeFou, who is being cited as the first gay character in a Disney film.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon said. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it.”
Disney did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Here’s the theater’s Facebook post: