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Beautiful or beastly? Hong Kong’s anti-gay campaigners at loggerheads over Disney’s ‘gay moment’

The chief of a prominent Hong Kong anti-gay group has criticised another anti-gay group for overreacting to a “gay moment” in the new Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.

Choi Chi-sum

Choi Chi-sum. File Photo: Apple Daily.

In the film, a character named LeFou dances with a man at a ball and expresses affection for his boss. Its director Bill Condon said that it was the first exclusively gay moment in a Disney feature. It has caused controversy in places such as Malaysia and Singapore.

‘Sparked discussion’

Choi Chi-sum, an outspoken far right evangelical and the chief executive of The Society for Truth and Light, said it was a good film and he would recommend children to watch the film, after watching it himself.

“From the point of view of promotion strategy, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has already sparked discussion before its screening -it is very smart,” he said.

The film opened in Hong Kong on Thursday. He said he went to an early showing to see for himself, to make a real judgment instead of believing in rumours.

In a social media post on Thursday, he attached a screenshot of a report on the protest by the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group to the Disney office in Hong Kong, led by activist Roger Wong Wai-ming, where they urged Disney to cut the scene.

Choi did not directly address the protest in his words, but said: “The so-called gay scene is so subtle, it’s merely an interpretation and bragging by some of the film’s crew. I believe most parents, unless they have a bias, would not think the said scene is beautifying homosexuality.”

Beauty and the Beast

The two Beauty and the Beast characters. Photo: Disney handout.

He added: “Maybe gays should protest as well; the two alleged homosexuals are loathsome villains in the film.”

Choi said on a Commercial Radio show on Friday that the two characters only danced closely with each other to show admiration, but he did not particularly find it referenced homosexuality.

In the social media post, Choi said that he had been a film censor at the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration (OFNAA) for many years and he would agree with rating the film suitable for all ages.

“If the OFNAA bans this film or rates it as Category III [Persons Aged 18 and Above Only], I will disagree firmly,” he said. “I don’t want Hong Kong’s film censorship standards to be same as [China], Singapore or some strict Muslim countries.”

He said he respected the creative freedom of film crews, but should Disney gradually promote “how good homosexuals are” in the future, he would disagree as a parent.

“Please do not ignore the value judgments of many parents by secretly promoting values that parents do not agree with to children,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong Christian school asked parents to prevent children from watching the film.

The International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School in Diamond Hill said in a notice to parents on Thursday that it has been “teaching children with the truth of the Bible to let them understand God’s original will in creating mankind.”

Beauty and the Beast

The notice. Photo: Facebook.

“God disapproves of homosexuality. Therefore we urge parents not to bring children or allow them to watch the film,” the notice read.

The school added that it hoped that God would “protect children’s hearts and lead them to walk on the right track.”

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Beautiful or beastly? Hong Kong's anti-gay campaigners at loggerheads over Disney's 'gay moment'