Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Beauty and the Beast' Comes out with Gay Character to Honor Lyricist Ashman

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Beauty and the Beast' Comes out with Gay Character to Honor Lyricist Ashman

Article excerpt

"Beauty and the Beast" director Bill Condon unleashed some beastly sentiment when he said in a pre-release interview that a character in the live-action film is revealed, over the course of the movie, as gay.

Josh Gad as LeFou, the devoted sidekick to egomaniacal Gaston, evolves over the course of the film, questions Gaston's cruelty, and in a subtle way is revealed to be gay.

The director said the idea was to honor the original lyricist, Howard Ashman, who died of AIDS at age 40 in 1991.

Mr. Condon's comments were widely reported, and Mr. Gad (Carnegie Mellon University Class of 2003) tweeted that he was honored to be the first gay character in a Disney film.

The minor pushback also was widely reported when an Alabama drive-in theater said it would not show "Beauty and the Beast" because, "When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices, and I am making mine," according to its Facebook page.

Many in the entertainment industry have spoken out about the controversy. …

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