Conservatives are hoping to defend "Asian values"

Disney’s Beauty And The Beast has been slammed for having a “gay agenda” by a church in Singapore.

As reported by The News Lens, Disney’s introduction of a homosexual LeFou – the sidekick to villain Gaston – in its newest live-action re-imagination of the tale as old as time has caused a quite stir. Director Bill Condon had said that Le Fou, played by Josh Gad, would be Disney’s first LGBT character with an “exclusively gay moment”.

According to The New Lens, this decision caused an uproar in parts of the US, with cinemas cancelling screenings. The news site adds that the outrage spread to countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, where conservatives hope to defend “Asian values”.

One such conservative institution that took offence to Gaston’s gay sidekick was Singapore’s National Council of Churches (NCCS). On 14 March, the council issued a letter to pastors and church leaders titled “THE GAY AGENDA IN DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,”

The letter describes Le Fou’s “gay moment” as “totally unnecessary” and claims it “signals a marked departure from the original 1991 Disney classic.”

One part of the letter reads, “Some Christian leaders here are deeply concerned about the LGBT representation in this new Disney movie. They see this as an attempt to influence young children and socialize them at an early age into thinking that the homosexual lifestyle is normal.”

“Studies have shown that watching LGBT characters in popular entertainment may not only result in greater acceptance of these groups but also the lifestyles they have adopted,” the council added.

The New Lens slams the Singaporean church for its actions, “if churches in Singapore not only believe that there is such a thing as a “homosexual lifestyle”, but that such a thing is problematic and abnormal, how can they properly protect and support LGBT people in their congregation?”

Beauty And The Beast, starring Emma Watson, will be released on 17 March 2017.