To no surprise, the backlash about Disney’s upcoming Beauty & the Beast and their decision to make the character LeFou gay, is making headlines before the movie has even released.
But are we really getting upset about nothing as usual? I will say some yes, some no.
This is Chik-Fil-A, Sweet Cakes Bakers, and whatever other homosexual controversy that has occurred over the past couple years.
It’s just something for some people to complain about, and others to attempt to start a social movement over.
Both sides are usually ridiculous in this case as well, even though it’s only the most ridiculous cases that we hear about because they make the most headlines. In this case, the Henagar Drive-In, a theater in Alabama, has stated that they will now not be showing the movie upon its release due to Disney forcing their views upon people, in particular, homosexual tolerance in this case.
Of course, this is bound to back fire in the owners of the theaters’ face because it’s already been said they have had several movies that could go against their Bible believing belief system they proudly pronounced as reasoning. And here’s the thing — any secular movie could go against their belief. But that’s another story.
First of all, I’m a Christian who believes as those theater owners in Alabama “claim” they do, yet probably on a different spectrum. Do I agree with homosexuality? No. Would I not go watch a movie that had a gay character? Why wouldn’t I? This doesn’t mean I have Brokeback Mountain on my blu ray shelf or agree with homosexuality. It means that — and I understand there are differences here — just because homosexuality is in a film, doesn’t mean I can’t watch. There’s plenty of other sins in every other movie. Just look at some of the other classic Disney movies and you’ll find plenty of sinful acts, some of which went right over your heads in all that Disney magic. Oh, magic — there’s one!
Gay characters have been in movies for decades. It’s not as if those people in Alabama or any of the rest of us have not seen a movie or tv show where a gay character exists. There’s two things that are the issue here.
One — it’s a changing of the character. It’s a fairly beloved character in one of Disney’s most famous property’s, and to change it goes against all that the character was before — or at least maybe who people had believed LeFou was. And now being a gay character, although I don’t remember much about him before, can certainly change a lot of things about him. It’s not as if they changed his hair color, height or even changed his race. Changing sexual orientation of a character, if given any sort of complexity, with in depth storytelling, can change the entire character.
Two — it feels completely forced with the time we are in now. Honestly, no one can argue this. And look, this has been happening since film was invented. You adhere to the times that are current. Go back and watch how many 1980s movies were about the aids epidemic and cocaine.
I’ll be honest, would I prefer the character to not be gay. Sure. But what kills me is that now before a movie can even release, we have to talk about who’s gay in the movie. We have to talk about how the studios expressed their equality.
Hey, we just want you to know that so-and-so character is gay … like, really gay — don’t forget that! And he’s going to be gay for someone else. It’s going to be so gay.
WHO CARES!? Stop concocting ways to make people go see your movies and just make good movies. Studios spend millions upon millions of dollars to make these movies and the most important thing they want us to take from it is that they want us to know they’ve made a gay character? That’s what makes me not want to see certain movies anymore. Not just because a character is gay, it’s because the issue seems so forced.
I just want to know why making LeFou gay had anything of significant nature to do with the story being told in the movie? Is it a point of major significance where it changes the story? Does he change the entire outlook of the town? Does he turn the Beast gay? (That would be a major plot twist!) Seriously, what does LeFou being gay have to do with anything of importance of the telling of this story?
My guess, nothing. This seems like nothing more than a memo sent to the writers and director from Disney higher-ups saying, “We have to make one of the characters gay, which one can we do it with?” Whether I agree with it or not, this ultimately seems like pathetic storytelling and a forced narrative with no essence whatsoever. I wouldn’t purposefully change or make a character a Christian just because I wanted it in a movie unless I thought it was essential to the story being told. Same goes for giving a character a heterosexual relationship. What does it have to do with the story?
If there’s any backlash, this is it. It’s not necessarily because the character is gay, it’s because it’s being given with inept storytelling.
Follow Shane Shoemaker on Twitter @SShoemaker24