Malaysia's Film Censorship Board had asked for the 'gay moment' to be cut

Malaysia will release Beauty And The Beast without any cuts despite censorship demands.

As reported by the BBC, Disney has rejected censors’ demands for a gay scene in the film to be removed. Instead, Beauty And The Beast will be released on 30 March with a PG13 rating without any cuts.

Two major cinema chains have reportedly confirmed the new release date, which is two weeks after the initially organised opening date of 16 March.

In the film, villain Gaston’s sidekick LeFou is presented as the first openly gay character in a Disney film. Director Bill Condon said the character is “confused about his sexuality” and said the film shows a brief “gay moment”.

Malaysia currently deems homosexuality activity as illegal in both secular and religious laws. Culprits could face prison sentences or corporal punishment. Whilst gay characters can be shown in films in Malaysia, homosexuality must be shown negatively.

Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, the head of Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board told AP the gay scene in the film was “inappropriate because many children will be watching this movie”. The board requested cuts to the film but Disney rejected.

Local distributors asked the board to review the decision to censor the film, which has earned more than $350m around the world.

Seri Naziz Aziz, the country’s tourism minister, said banning the film was “ridiculous”.

In Singapore, the film starring Emma Watson as Belle was heavily criticised by Singapore’s National Council of Churches. The council described the gay scene as “total unnecessary”.

“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.