Pundits are excited because Disney’s coming Beauty and the Beast remake will supposedly turn the sidekick LeFou “gay.” Says director Bill Condon of the March 17 release:
LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. … He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising 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.
So it sounds like Disney has “told you whose team they prefer to be on”: for marketing purposes, anyway, the team of one of the world’s fastest-growing religions, sexualityism.
How should Christians respond to such attempts at religious teachings?
1. This is nothing new for Disney.
In 1997, evangelicals announced a boycott of the “no longer friendly to the family” Disney company (in the words of Dr. James Dobson). Now-defunct Disney-owned Miramax was making “gay”-friendly movies, and Disney parks hosted “gay days,” making the company a relatively early adopter of the LGBTQ agenda. And thus, many Christians responded.
Once Disney toned back, and once the rest of popular culture was clearly making boycotts nigh-impossible, the boycott faded. Solution: if your beliefs violate “family values,” simply redefine. Family is “a group of people based in love.” When every day is “gay day,” no day is.
2. Creators want to be ‘first’ at something; it gets attention.
Recall all the hoopla about Frozen supposedly being the “first” Disney film to feature a Strong Female Fighting Character (forgetting Mulan, 1998), and the “first” Disney film to challenge the princess-instant-marriage stereotypes (forgetting Enchanted, 2007)?
Frozen was not “first” at either theme, rendering such boasts even less effective than the nerd who replies to a YouTube video or TV show review with the comment “First!”
Regarding the argument of which Disney character was the “first” homosexual, the jokes are already being made. It’s a rather silly argument, really—an “SJW” equivalent to fans who argue whether Wonder Woman or Aquaman would win in a fight.1
3. Even if you support the religion, this news is so lackluster.
Remember the Abramsverse Sulu incident of 2016? The Gobber incident of 2014? Or even the Finding Dory incident also of 2016? None of these are truly the great strides into public “representation” history that LGBTQ advocates would surely want. In fact, these are such low-key examples that the people who want to push them as great-answers must instead distribute the “secret code” before the movie, via blog posts and interviews.
4. This will likely not change the heart of the story.
In each of those stories, the heart of the story remains very “traditional” relationships: Captain Kirk and the crew he respects and loves, Hiccup and his girlfriend Astrid along with his parents, and Dory and her long-lost parents.
If the director and Disney preserves the true soul of Beauty and the Beast, that a strong yet fair woman could truly learn to love a hideous beast and aid in his redemption—why all this attention for a side character who has little to do with this central plot?
Even if the new version shows LeFou as “gay,” would that change the absolutely central imaging of sacrificial love, respect, devotion, and commitment in the “tale as old as time”?
As I wrote in this satire of the Gobber incident of 2014:
“This assault on our values using Hollywood propaganda and the dark forces who oppose marriage will be rejected by honest hard-working Americans,” said Robert McBoreson, president and chair of the Family Values Research Heritage God Bless and Save America Foundation, utterly incognizant of the fact that the Hollywood film brainwashes viewers by showing the journey of a maturing young man to find himself, while also respecting the stories and perspectives of both his father and mother, who turn out to have had a short and yet blissful life of committed and romantic marriage that is upheld as the story’s ideal.
5. People thrive off getting us worked up for/against these things.
One investigation (albeit by a highly biased website itself) showed that at least in one case, the same company owned two outrage-mill websites, both a “left wing” and “right wing” website. In at least this case, the company had published a nearly identical outrage-mill story, but simply switched a few words around for the targeted audiences.
This is an extreme example. But it does remind us that with popular-culture controversies like this, the religion of LGBTQ-ism doesn’t “win” nearly as much as the clickbait publishers.
6. LeFou is the comic, stupid sidekick of the vainglorious villain.
This whole incident is another case of questionable “strides” for the sexualityism religion. One could conspiracy-theorize (but I would not) that this is, in fact, a scathing subversion of that religion. After all, the original LeFou is not a hero. He is a simpering buffoon with a man-crush on Gaston, who is an even more thoughtless and narcissistic fool. “LeFou” literally means the fool—and so, the “first gay” character is a fool. How is this not insulting?
7. This is still bad, in part because false religion makes stories worse.
I do grieve when all these pundits, rumors, and even story-creators themselves get all excited about these fleeting notions. These elements of the stories will not last because this religious movement will not last. When people pay frivolous attention to the vulgar trim on one single character’s costume, they miss beauties of any “tale as old as time.” And increasingly, stories will be made solely to serve religious agendas, rather than vice-versa.
This is why my wife and I recently quit viewing “Supergirl,” four stories into the second season. After a largely successful and supergeek-pleasing first season, the creators wanted to cause-jack season 2. They took one character, gave her instant same-sex attraction, and insisted on showing this in an unrealistic, propagandistic light. It made the story suffer.
Beauty and the Beast, superhero tales, and other fantastical stories may indeed prove to become timeless. But this religion has no chance of lasting for eternity.
I don’t know if I care to see the new Beauty and the Beast. Right now the political/religious cause has subsumed all. Even if the moment turns out to be nothing, especially without the Secret LGBTQ Code, all this leaves a sour taste.
Disney, you had one job: remake one of your most classic animated features in a manner like your other popular live-action remakes, cast popular actors, promise nostalgia and originality all at once. But that wasn’t good enough. You had to go and act like this story only exists to preach a bad sermon. This is worse than the most moralistic Christian films.
8. This isn’t that bad because seeing the story won’t make you sin.
But if you do see Beauty and the Beast, it won’t make you sin.
Unless you’re tempted toward same-sex attraction yourself (which is simply another point on the Bible’s hideous yet ordinary lust-sin spectrum), the story can only “offend” you.
Creators and marketers have no way to know whether you used your ticket money to “sponsor” their propaganda campaign or simply meant to ignore that and enjoy the story. So most of the “boycott” logic Christians attempt—e.g., “if you go and see that then you are subsidizing sin”—doesn’t work. It can’t work. If you live in reality, you would “subsidize sin.”
This ends up being closer to a “meat sacrificed to idols” issue, again (1 Corinthians 8-10). In the very chapter where Paul should have used the “boycott” logic—“if you buy that meat then you are subsidizing sin”—he did not. He only spoke of loving weaker brothers.
Who are the “weaker brothers” here? Do you know a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction who is bothered by the movie? Then don’t invite that person to see it, or don’t mention you are seeing it, or consider not seeing the movie at all. Do you know a more-conservative Christian who thinks that seeing the movie is sinful, and would “stumble,” that is, be tempted to the same actual sin if you saw the movie?2 Then same solution.
But in either case, let’s recall where all sins—same-sex attraction, homosexual lifestyles, arrogance, and the root cause of all, idolatry—actually come from: the human self, not movies or any external thing (Mark 7). And always point not to fear of specific sins or their reflections in popular culture, but to Jesus Christ, beast-redeeming hero older than time.
Updated March 4: what’s actually in the film?
A professing Christian mom has seen Beauty and the Beast and recounts exactly what content is in it.3 As I suggested above, the actual “gay moments” sound at once fairly terrible and yet not as annoying as some would overplay them.
1) Le Fou (Gaston’s sidekick) is clearly gay and clearly infatuated with Gaston much more obviously than any gay character has appeared in any other Disney movie. Unlike in Finding Dory, the homosexual content in this movie will not be missed by adults and older children for sure.
2) Le Fou starts giving Gaston a hand / shoulder / ear massage during the Gaston song that is definitely sensual from Le Fou’s perspective.
3) At one point toward the end, Gaston gets very close to Le Fou’s face; they are face to face and it looks like a romantic angle but Gaston is actually angry and yelling. It draws a direct contrast between what Le Fou wants and the fact that Gaston has really just been using his devotion all along
4) In the final dance scene, Le Fou is dancing with a woman but at the very end he cuts in on another couple and dances with a man. It was made to appear as a fortuitous accident.
The just-plain comic:
In the final battle scene, three men are attacked by the wardrobe and dressed as women. Two of the men run off in horror and terror but the third decides he likes it and runs off happy as the wardrobe sings, “Be free.”
That last sounds nearly identical to the original 1991 animated film. In any case, apparently we are still “allowed” to laugh (and wince) at men who “crush” on other men, and men who dress like women.
Disney still clearly wants to play this up as some great cultural moment for the Sexualityism revolution. However, Disney also wants to have its “gay” wedding cake and eat it too. I’m still not hearing much that really separates this film’s characterization of LeFou from the LeFou of the original 1991 animated film. In either, LeFou is a tragicomic figure–a toadie and a man-crushing sycophant. How exactly is this supposed to aid the Sexualityist crusade?
And this much stays true: you still need to receive the Secret LGBTQ Culture Code beforehand, or you won’t actually know what a “revolutionary” moment this is for the cause.
Regardless, Christians are free to see or not see the film. We don’t need to feel any “command,” either to boycott the film because “Hollywood” is full of such unqualified evil, or to see it because It Must Be Engaged. Our only command is to avoid personal temptation, and for parents, to engage the story with your children if you do see it.
Most mainstream, popular stories’ emotional cores are based on “traditional” relationships. Meanwhile, other relationships are relegated to side references, comic relief, or obvious political/social agenda add-ons.
Thus, even in this generation and despite decades of cultural propaganda, the film’s title and central theme have stayed the same. It is not Beauty and the Beauty, or Beast and the Beast, but Beauty and the Beast.
- Aquaman wins, but only if he can fight Wonder Woman in the ocean. ↩
- This is not the same thing as a conservative Christian who would simply judge you apart from Scripture if you saw the movie. Randy Alcorn explains the difference between actual “stumbling blocks” and mere “offendedness” in his article A Stumbling Block: What It Is and Isn’t. ↩
- As of 1:45 p.m. Eastern, this website was unavailable due to a server overload. ↩