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Bohemian Rhapsody Will Screen in China — With Some Gay Cuts

Bohemian Rhapsody Will Screen in China — With Some Gay Cuts

Bohemian Rhapsody

Chinese censors strike again.

Bohemian Rhapsody will air in China - or most of it anyway.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, around a minute of the Freddie Mercury biopic will be cut to appease the Asian country's notoriously anti-LGBTQ censors. Sources say these scrapped scenes include drug use and same-sex kissing.

Bohemian Rhapsody may premiere in China as early as mid-March. Additionally, although Bohemian was an international blockbuster, the film will receive only a limited release, appearing on 1,200 of China's over 50,000 screens.

That Bohemian Rhapsody -- fresh from winning four Oscars, including Best Actor for Rami Malek -- will screen in China at all comes as a surprise to executives. The film stars Malek as Mercury, the bisexual front man of Queen who died of an AIDS-related illness.

In his Oscars acceptance speech, Malek incorrectly referred to Mercury as "a gay man." The error would have been missed by Chinese viewers, as this phrase was cut altogether in the broadcast they saw.

There have been some signs of progress in China. Last year, Looking for Rohmer became the first gay film to be screened in wide release in the nation -- although reviewers noted that the sexuality of the two leads was so subtle that it "might go unnoticed by straight moviegoers." Moreover, the 2017 decision to show Beauty and the Beast with its "gay moment" intact may be a sign of shifting views.

However, even in its unedited form, Bohemian Rhapsody has been slammed by LGBTQ critics for erasing Mercury's queer sexuality and inaccurately depicting his HIV diagnosis. Adding to the controversies, the film's bisexual director, Bryan Singer, was the subject of new allegations of sexual assault. Singer had been fired before the end of production, but he still stands to make tens of millions from Bohemian's box-office success.

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