Disney film prompts church advisory

PHOTO: Walt Disney Pictures

In the live-action remake of Disney's classic Beauty And The Beast, LeFou shows more than just friendly feelings for the handsome antagonist Gaston.

This prompted Anglican Bishop Rennis Ponniah to issue an advisory before the film premieres here on Thursday.

In a statement released on the St Andrew's Cathedral website, Bishop Rennis Ponniah urged the clergy and deaconesses to alert their congregation about the homosexual content in the film.

He wrote: "Disney films for children's entertainment are usually associated with wholesome and mainstream values. But times are changing at a foundational level... LeFou is portrayed as gay and a 'gay moment' is included in the movie by way of a subplot.

"Parents are advised to provide guidance to their children about (the film), and indeed to their children's entertainment choices in a rapidly changing age."

He said the Diocese and the National Council of Churches will work on a fuller advisory this week for the movie.

Read Also: 'Beauty and the Beast' features Disney's first gay character

LeFou, voiced by Josh Gad, is Disney's first openly gay character and director Bill Condon's way of increasing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visibility on screen.

The new film has caused quite a stir around the world.

An Alabama theatre said it would not screen it. In Russia, only those aged 16 and above are allowed to watch the film.

Here, the film was passed clean by the regulators with no edits. It was rated as PG with some intense sequences of characters in perilous situations.

Rather than a ban, National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said the Bishop is asking "for his flock to use it an occasion to teach their children about their beliefs".

He told The New Paper: "I believe most young people are inclusive, and would consider the screening of the gay moment as not such a big deal, since it reflects a facet of reality in our society - the fact that there are gay people, gay love and gay relationships.

"I reckon no one should impose their moral values on others, but they are free to live by their own convictions and to raise their children by them."

'Beauty and the Beast' premieres in China

  • The cast of new Disney film Beauty and the Beast have arrived in Shanghai to promote the movie ahead of its release.
  • Popular celebrities Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline and Josh Gad met fans at Shanghai Disney Resort
  • In the film, Belle, played by Emma Watson, is taken prisoner by a fearsome Beast, performed by Dan Stevens, in his magical castle in exchange for the freedom of her father Maurice.
  • Despite her fears, Belle learns to accept this and befriends many characters in the castle.
  • Little by little, she manages to look beyond the Beast's exterior to recognise the true heart and soul of the human prince.

Marketing consultant Wilfred Chan, 43, said he will not let his 14-year-old son watch the movie as the homosexual content is against his religious beliefs.

Stay-at-home mum Jamie Tan, 38, though, has no qualms about it.

Mrs Tan, who has a nine-year-old daughter, said: "It'll be a good opportunity to explain the idea of homosexuality to her if she notices and asks about it."



This article was first published on March 13, 2017.
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