Gay references cut from Fantastic Beasts 3 for China release


Jude Law (Dumbledore) and Mads Mikkelsen (Grindelwald) play former lovers in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Warner Bros studios has agreed to cut references to a gay relationship in the third Fantastic Beasts movie to appease censors in China.

Around six seconds of dialogue were removed from the Chinese-release version of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore that relate to the relationship between Dumbledore, played by Jude Law and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen).

Lines such as “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love” have been cut. The censorship was requested by officials in China in order for the film to be released there.

Warner Bros told Variety that the decision was made “to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors.”

The studio said that “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.” Warner insisted that despite the cuts, “the spirit of the film remains intact.”

The size of the Chinese market – which is now larger than that of the US – means that film studios are financially motivated to accept cuts by the country’s censors in order to get their films released there. The Secrets of Dumbledore topped the box office in China during its opening weekend earlier this month.

Last year, Marvel and its parent company, Disney, were praised for refusing to cut scenes depicting a same-sex couple in its blockbuster Eternals after it fell foul of censors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. It has not been released in China.

While homosexuality is legal in China, LGBTQ+ relationships are not recognised and there are no anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. The government’s actions in recent years, including actively censoring LGBTQ+ media representation, indicate that it prefers that the community remains undercover and voiceless.

In 2019, China censored the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, removing “several intimate kisses between Rami Malek’s Mercury and other male characters.” The country even censored the Malek’s Oscars speech after he described Mercury as a gay man.

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