06 March 2019 Posted By : MURI ASSUNCAO

China wants to hide Freddy Mercury's sexuality in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

“Bohemian Rhapsody” has been approved for theatrical release in China, but scenes of the film’s man-on-man kissing have been censored.

The biopic about Queen front man Freddie Mercury — which won four Oscars — has seen its share of controversies on its way to becoming the highest-grossing music biographical music film of all time. Its director Bryan Singer was fired before shooting concluded, and later faced a new wave of sexual misconduct allegations. The film was panned by some critics, who have used words such as “embarrassingly unprepared,” “soulless,” and “an affront to the music of Queen” to describe it. Some in the LGBTQ community came out strongly against its “gay shaming” portrayal of “arguably one of the most important gay icons in pop culture ever.”

That portrayal will be further sanitized when the film opens in China in mid-March, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

At least one minute of the film will not be shown to Chinese audiences, including intimate same-sex scenes, as well as scenes portraying the use of drugs.

The approval came as a little bit of a surprise, given China’s history on the approval of similar movies: The gay cowboy love story “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) was denied a release, and Michael Fassbender’s gay kiss (with himself!) was also removed from the Chinese run of 2017’s “Alien: Covenant.” Beijing’s stance on the issue, however, can also be considered inconsistent, as it gave the green-light to the much-talked-about “gay moment” in Disney’s live action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017.

Also of note, The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is only getting a limited release, even though the movie became a worldwide box office phenomenon.

This latest controversy comes on the heels of yet another episode involving the film.

Shortly after the Oscars ceremony, BBC News reported that Mango TV, one of China's most popular channels, avoided using the words "gay man" when it translated actor Rami Malek’s acceptance speech. “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life unapologetically himself,” he said. Mango TV changed “gay man” to “special group.”

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