We love hype here at Hypable, but the “exclusively gay moment” in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake did not deserve the advance excitement it was strategically given.
In an attempt to be on top of the “moment” before it started leaking via screenings and whatnot, Disney decided to run a feature in Attitude Magazine in which director Bill Condon revealed there would be an “exclusively gay moment” for LeFou.
The announcement was met with both applause and disappointment. Applause because Disney was finally (and supposedly prominently!) including a gay character in one of its movies, disappointment because it was LeFou, the guy who’s obsessed with the undeniably straight and hyper-masculine Gaston.
No matter which side of the debate you stood on, the fierce internet commotion ended up being all for virtually nothing. Beauty and the Beast’s “exclusively gay moment” came at the very end when LeFou dances with a man at the post-transformation ball. It was a payoff for LeFou after he was clearly interested in Gaston throughout the 2017 remake.
But here’s the thing: It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, and there wasn’t a kiss between LeFou and this guy who liked being dressed up. For all we know, LeFou and this other guy could’ve accidentally latched onto each other because there was some confusion at the dance. One could argue that it was only an official omg-gay-thing-in-a-Disney-film moment because Bill Condon explicitly said that it was gay in an interview.
Still, the news caused lots of chatter online. It even prompted foreign countries to object Beauty and the Beast. Malaysia requested over four of the movie’s gayest minutes be cut. To Disney’s credit they refused to cut it, and the film will not be showing in that country (where gay sex is illegal).
I’m happy (one could say I’m gay) over Disney beginning to put LGBTQIA+ characters in its movies, but this was a very, very small first step. It didn’t deserve the advance remarks from Bill Condon, and would’ve been better as a tiny surprise for moviegoers over opening weekend.
Maybe Disney is testing the waters to see how the world reacts to such things. Obviously it didn’t affect the box office — Beauty and the Beast now holds the record for biggest March opening ever.
With such little backlash (thank God), we can all agree there’s some good news: Including a gay character — gasp! — doesn’t negatively affect box office performance. With that in mind, Disney is now certainly heading towards including more prominent gay characters in its films. Say… Poe.