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Bohemian Rhapsody Censored for Queer Content in Malaysia

Bohemian Rhapsody Censored for Queer Content in Malaysia

Bohemian Rhapsody

A large chunk of the biopic on Freddie Mercury has been removed in the anti-LGBTQ nation.

Audience members for Bohemian Rhapsody in Malaysia will reportedly see an edited, straight-washed version of the film.

Censors in the Asian nation, where sex between members of the same gender is illegal, have cut 24 minutes from the 134-minute Freddie Mercury biopic, which include important queer moments in the bisexual singer's life, reports Malay Mail, a Kuala Lumpur-based newspaper.

The deleted scenes include a re-creation of the Queen music video for "I Want to Break Free," which shows the band members in drag. The scene in which Mercury comes out as bisexual to his partner Mary Austin has also been excised.

The minimum age to see the film has also been raised in Malaysia; viewers must be at least 18, while in the United States the film is rated PG-13.

In addition to the problematic straight-washing, viewers have complained on social media that the edited version is nonsensical. "Disclaimer for watching Bohemian Rhapsody in Malaysia: they cut out ALL the gay scenes thus leaving out HUGE PLOT HOLES," wrote one user.

There is a government-led witch hunt of LGBTQ people in Malaysia, which has seen rising intolerance since the election of a new national government. In the past year, the country has made headlines for the sentencing of two women to caning for having sex with each other, a brutal attack on a transgender woman, and a raid on a gay nightclub.

The unedited version of Bohemian Rhapsodyalready stands accused of not devoting enough time to Mercury's queerness or his struggle with HIV, which ultimately led to his death. The latter is alluded to at the end of the film, although critics have noted that the timing of his diagnosis is anachronistic.

Regardless, the film, starring Rami Malek as Mercury, has been a box-office success, earning more than $50 million in North America for its opening weekend. To date, it has grossed more than $285 million worldwide.

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