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Malaysian cinema chain to show Beauty And The Beast without cuts to gay scene

Malaysia's largest cinema chain has said it will show Disney movie Beauty And The Beast without cutting a gay scene as had been ordered by film censors.

The retelling of the animated classic was originally scheduled to start on March 16 but was postponed after Disney refused to edit the film.

Film Censorship Board chairman Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid had said the movie was approved with a minor cut involving "a gay moment" because scenes promoting homosexuality are forbidden.

He said the film was given a PG13 rating, which requires parental guidance for children under 13.

Golden Screen Cinemas announced on Facebook that this was "official from Disney. No cuts. PG13. 30 March".

A government official said the reversal came after an appeal committee under the film censorship board viewed the movie and decided the scene was not offensive.

The official said the committee was made up of different people from the earlier group that wanted the scene cut. He declined to provide further details.

The film's characters include manservant LeFou, who plays the sidekick to villain Gaston, and, according to director Bill Condon, "is confused about his sexuality".

Condon has described a brief scene as a "gay moment".

Russia approved the movie but banned children under 16 from watching it without the accompaniment of someone over 16.

Malaysia's censors in 2010 loosened decades of restrictions on sexual and religious content in movies, but kept a tight leash on tiny bikinis, kisses and passionate hugs.

The new rules allowed depiction of gay characters, but only if they show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Gay sex, even if consensual, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and whipping in Malaysia.

AP

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