Warner Bros. Censors References to Gay Relationship in Fantastic Beasts’ China Release
The WB talks a big game about "safeguarding the integrity" of art and promoting "stories that represent the LGBTQ+ experience" . . . except in China.
Dialogue referencing the romantic past between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in the forthcoming blockbuster Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore were removed by the studio Warner Bros. for the movie’s release in China.
China requested the studio remove the lines “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love,” amounting to 6 seconds of the 142-minute film.
According to Variety, Warner Bros. released a statement justifying its decision:
“As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors,” Warner Bros. said in a statement to Variety. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.”
“In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact,” the statement added. “We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”
This posturing to appease Chinese censors stands at odds with Warner Bros.’ (and other major studios’) purported commitments to promoting LGBTQ+ stories:
Perhaps the braver (and more principled) choice for studios would be to forego a Chinese release of the film to “safeguard the integrity” of the storyteller’s work.
Wanting audiences in every country to have access to entertainment might be a noble goal, but depriving them of media they want to consume may lead many to question their government’s censorious ways and push back.