Declaring moral opposition to an "exclusively gay moment" in Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie, religious-anchored American Family Association sponsored an online, open letter to Disney that can be signed by individuals to demonstrate public opposition. At publishing time, the letter was supported by 44,000-plus signatures.
However, AFA instead is soliciting financial donations of $25 to $1,000 to produce what they described as a Godly family movie called The Pilgrim's Progress.
Beauty and the Beast, which debuts Friday, March 17, 2017, is a live-action remake of Disney's 1991 animated feature. Director Bill Condon revealed in an interview with Attitude that the main character Gaston's sidekick, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, will explore his sexuality in what Attitude calls a "small but significant subplot" during the film.
"LeFou is somebody, who on one day, wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon said in the interview. "He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that's what has its payoff at the end, which I don't want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
AFA representatives warned parents that Disney "has given the green light to a strong LGBTQ agenda" in a movie that targets the 5-to-11-year-old demographic market. "If parents don't push back today and take a strong stand, Disney will continue to allow more children's movies to push the homosexual agenda," reads the online AFA appeal.
"Homosexual behavior is unhealthy and unnatural. It is irresponsible and careless of Disney to promote such an agenda in a movie designed and marketed to children," reads the AFA online appeal.
The nonprofit encourages Disney to make more family friendly movies that "do not push the gay agenda on children."
"There is a lot of support and a lot of backlash on this news in the Disney community. I for one want to say that I am grateful Disney is doing this," stated Kristi Knox on Facebook. "Regardless of how much one tries to protect or shelter their children, they WILL know, meet, see and even have gay people for friends. It is the perfect opportunity to teach them, in a context they understand, without being overtly sexual, how we can be tolerant and loving to ALL of God's children."
"Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, there will also be children who will see this movie, that will have same-sex attraction someday (they may even be your kids). This is a great way to show them THEY can be accepted and loved also. Too many teens that struggle with this have or have tried to end their lives," she continued.
"I find it a little ironic that a movie about inner beauty and loving someone for who they are, is being boycotted and shunned by certain people. A movie that is produced by a company that has benefited so immensely from the talents of gay people. If you are going to not see this movie because of that, then maybe you should stop watching all Disney movies. Or maybe we should look to ourselves and try to find the inner beauty in more people."
In a recent interview with ET, Condon spoke further about Gad's character. "It's sort of, like, a first gay moment. He's fluid, you know what I mean?" the director explained. "LeFou in the original, why else does he hang out and be a human punching bag for Gaston? He must be a little confused about his feelings, you know? But I don't want that to seem like a heavy-handed thing."
"The movie is a celebration, at the end of the day, of love," he added. "And we have very many varieties of it in moments at the end."