The Henagar Drive-In Theatre in DeKalb County, Alabama, announced on March 2 that it is not going to show the Disney live-action film "Beauty and the Beast" because it will reportedly feature a gay character.
The self-identified Christian theater owners made the announcement on Facebook, notes WHNT:
It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing "Beauty and the Beast" at the Henagar Drive-in. When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine. For those that do not know Beauty and the Beast is "premiering" their first homosexual character.
The film's director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine about the character with same-sex attraction:
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 realizing that he has these feelings. And [actor] Josh [Gad] 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.
The movie theater owners continued their reasoning on Facebook:
If we can not take out 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.
I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That's fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.
The theater's Facebook page was filled with support and opposition, notes the New York Daily News. The page is currently down, but it's not clear if it was pulled or made private.
Carol Laney, who owns the drive-in with her husband, told WHNT that their opposition to the film because of the gay character does not mean they are bigots:
This by no means is sending a message of hatred or bigotry. However, we are Christians first and foremost and must adhere to our Bible and Christianity. We respect the choice of others who choose to respect other movie theaters by watching this move. However, we hope that you respect our choice not to play it at our drive-in.