There was a spat of controversy with Disney’s recent live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the internet was awash with the alleged gay moment with the character of LoFou, the flamboyant sidekick of Luke Evan’s Gaston, played by Josh Gad.
This so called “gay moment” (as director Bill Cordon wishes to call it) is nothing more than a half-arsed and insulting innuendo of sexual orientation via a wink given by LeFou during the song “Gaston” during the lyric “You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley And they’ll tell you whose team they prefer to be on!”.
Unsurprisingly, a bunch of right-winged nuts had a bitch about it, with calls of boycotts against the film. This resulted in Cordon stating “Can I just say, I’m sort of sick of this. Because you’ve seen the movie — it’s such a teeny thing, and it’s been overblown.”, which is true, and he speaks further of how the movie “features much more diversity than just the highly-talked-about LeFou: “That was so important. We have interracial couples — this is a celebration of everybody’s individuality, and that’s what’s exciting about it.”
However, he is wrong in this regard. LeFou is a not celebration of LGBTQI+ individuality, rather he is nothing more than an insulting homophobic joke. Beyond being an embodiment of a collection of outdated stereotypes, the very talk of LeFou being the first openly gay character in a Disney film has been wrongly idolised, as there is not such thing, LeFou is closeted for one and the implication of homosexuality exists only in implied jokes. There is no openly gay character, the very of idea is nothing more than a lie.
These jokes continue in Cordon’s statement of a “nice, exclusively gay moment”, as there is nothing exclusively gay about this scene. It follows in contrast to excessive heterosexual romanticism and sexualisation, presenting the mere idea of homosexuality (via the joking wink) as something hilarious and deserving of mockery. In other words, homosexuality is nothing more than a joke in this film, the very idea of homosexuality exists sorely to serve as a source of comic relief, it is reduced to a tool for straight people to get a few cheap laughs at the expense of the LGBTQI+ community.
Now this might be forgivable, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that critics, viewers, the cast and Disney itself have attempted to frame this homophobic collection of gay jokes as progressive. It is far from it, mockery of the LGBTQI+ community is not progressive it is an extreme reactionary attitude against a basic level of equality, it is returning cinema back to an era when the LGBTQI+ community was used as exhibitions of “indecent” or “immoral” behaviour. This is a subversive return to hatred and bigotry, masqueraded as progressive.
So no. Gay jokes are not progressive Disney, trivialising the LGBTQI+ community as comic relief for the amusement of straight people is not progressive nor is it a celebration of individuality, it is a homophobic insult and bigoted slap in the face to the minuscule portrayal of the LGBTQI+ community in cinema. Such backwards ‘representation’ is the start of a dangerous trend to retreat the march of LGBTQI+ rights back into the shadowed depths of cheap mockery.
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