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Alan Menken Says LeFou Isn't Gay

Alan Menken

The Beauty and the Beast composer blamed a reporter from a gay magazine for pushing an "agenda."


Beauty and the Beast has sparked international debate, headlines, and even boycotts over its "exclusively gay moment," which reveals the sexual orientation of the character LeFou.

The live-action film's director, Bill Condon, first discussed the scene in an interview with Attitude, a gay British magazine.

"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon said. "He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realizing that he has these feelings."

Since then, many of the stars have also commented on the "gay moment." Josh Gad, who portrays Gaston's sidekick, praised it as "subtle, but incredibly effective," with Emma Watson (Belle) describing it to Entertainment Weekly as a "fun" scene of "Is it, or is it not?" ambiguity.

However, Alan Menken, the legendary composer of the original animated Disney film, is disagreeing with the live-action film's director and actors on LeFou's sexuality -- ambiguous or otherwise.

"You know, I don't see him pining," Menken told "To me, he has always been look[ing] up to Gaston, in a nerdy kind of way."

Menken said media coverage of the topic was "absurd" and "nuts," and called LeFou's sexual orientation "an utter non-issue." He also blamed the journalist from the gay magazine, who first broke the news, for creating smoke without fire.

"I know there's been this whole discussion, which is to me, absolutely absurd. It's just nuts," he said." As far as I can tell, some journalist in England decided to make it his cause celebre to push this agenda. And it's really not really part of the movie in any overt way at all ... any more than it was in the original. To me, it's an utter non-issue. And I'd appreciate people realizing that it's a non-issue because it's just silly. But that's journalism, and I understand."

[RELATED: "Sorry, Russia, There Have Always Been Gay Disney Characters"]

Menken's statement may come as a surprise to those familiar with the 1991 film's backstory. The composer scored Beauty and the Beast alongside gay lyricist Howard Ashman, who died of an AIDS-related illness the year of its release. Ashman influenced the narrative by shifting the story to the Beast, whose suffering has been called an allegory for the AIDS crisis as well as the stigma of being queer. As such,Vanity Fair called Le Fou's "gay moment" a "touching tribute" to Ashman.

Regardless, many have taken issue with the "non-issue" of Le Fou's sexuality, which has set off a culture war in 2017. A movie theater in Alabama is boycotting the film. Russia has placed age restrictions on viewings. And in Malaysia, Beauty and the Beast has been pulled from theaters "until further notice," reports Variety, even after the scene in question was cut and the film was approved by censors.

The backlash to LeFou, be he gay or straight, runs counter to the film's message of inclusiveness and acceptance of others who are different. As Ewan McGregor, responding to the controversy on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, said this week, "It's just like, he's a gay character. It's 2017, for fuck's sake!"

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.