Disney withdraws Beauty & the Beast in Malaysia

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The release in Malaysia of Walt Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast has been postponed “until further notice”, the country’s largest cinema chain announced on Monday.

No reason was given for the postponement of the film. Malaysia’s Golden Screen Cinemas said in a statement that Disney had postponed the release, and the chain has offered customers a refund.

The film, due for release in Malaysia on Thursday, is the first in Disney’s history to feature a gay character – LeFou, played by Josh Gad.

Malaysia’s film censorship rules were eased in 2010 to allow the depiction of gay characters, but only if those characters show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light. Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable with a custodial sentence in Malaysia. Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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