The new remake of Beauty and the Beast has currently undergone controversy due to a character’s sexual orientation. Throughout the movie, LeFou is Gaston’s ‘sidekick,’ and according to director Bill Condon in an interview with Attitude Magazine, he “on one day wants to be Gaston, and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.” LeFou is played by actor Josh Gad, who claims that he did not purposefully intend to portray LeFou as a homosexual character, but rather was channeling his artistry.
In any case, Condon has confirmed that LeFou is confused about his sexual orientation. In the original animated version and this remake, LeFou sings “Gaston,” an ode to how Gaston is the greatest, which can be perceived as somewhat of a love confession. Condon also said that Gad made something “subtle” about it and the “exclusively gay moment” will be worthwhile for moviegoers.
The controversy has reached new heights as theaters in Russia are banning the movie from being played. The Russian Culture Ministry released a statement saying: “In this case, society cannot be silent about what film distributors are offering under the guise of a children’s tale..the obvious, blatant, shameless propaganda of sin, of perverted sexual relations.” In the U.S., Christian Evangelist Franklin Graham has made his disapproval clear by saying that Walt Disney would be disgraced.
Disney is a brand that attempts to be inclusive and accept diversity. For instance, over the years there have been more Disney princesses and characters of various cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the LGBTQ community should be represented in Disney as well. The fear of media corrupting children is not valid as there are other aspects that influence a child in more harmful and negative ways. Portraying homosexual characters can create a sense of inclusion for children, allowing them to embrace the sexuality that they are entitled to.
In conclusion, whether or not LeFou’s homosexuality is intentional, Gad and Condon have sparked a movement of progression for the Disney brand.