Hong Kong group opposes rating for Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ over claims of gay content

Live-action film classified as suitable for all ages to open in city on Thursday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 March, 2017, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 2017, 12:43pm

An anti-gay group has submitted a petition letter to the film classification authority to oppose its rating of Disney’s new live ­action film Beauty and the Beast as suitable for all ages.

In a letter submitted yesterday, the Family School Sodo (Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance) Concern Group said the film includes gay scenes and neglects to criticise “gay-related behaviour or lifestyle” in any way.

Group convenor Roger Wong Wai-ming said the rating given by the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration may mislead parents with reservations about homosexuality into thinking the drama is suitable for their children to watch.

“[This] could instil in some children values that their parents do not agree with, such as believing that being gay is normal and not a problem,” he said.

He urged the government to either ban the film locally, delete gay-related scenes or classify it as category three, which would make it suitable for those aged 18 or older.

[This] could instil in some children values that their parents do not agree with
Roger Wong, concern group convenor

Wong said the group may issue another petition letter to Disney requesting the company to withdraw the film.

A Disney spokeswoman said “the film has not been and will not be cut”.

A spokeswoman for the film authority said the office invited a panel of advisers comprising those of different ages and backgrounds to see the film. They unanimously agreed that it could be rated as suitable for all ages.

Pearl Wong, executive secretary of pro-gay rights group Queer Theology Academy, said there were also parents who had no problem with their children watching the film and those who opposed homosexuality should not impose their values on others.

“In this case, it’s very obvious that these parents are discriminating against gay people,” Wong said.

It’s very obvious that these parents are discriminating against gay people
Pearl Wong, Queer Theology Academy

The film, featuring Disney’s first openly gay character, is set to open in Hong Kong today .

There have been reservations about the film in Malaysia and Singapore.

In Singapore, it was given a ­parental guidance rating for “mild portrayals of violence”, not for the gay content.

In Malaysia the film classification authority said it was approved after a gay scene was cut out and parental guidance was required for children under 13.

But yesterday, Disney said it would not make any cuts and had postponed the release there.