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Gay Dialogue In 'Fantastic Beasts 3' Was Removed For Release In China

But, Warner Bros. says the “spirit of the film remains”… insert eye roll…

References to a gay relationship in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore were edited out of the movie by Warner Bros. for the film’s recent release in China. The fantasy sequel contains allusions to a romantic history between the characters of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, played by Jude Law and Mads Mikkelsen respectively and Warner Bros. accepted China’s request to remove six seconds from the movie. The dialogue lines “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love” were ultimately cut from the release. The rest of the film remained intact, including an understanding that Dumbledore and Grindelwald share an intimate bond.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had previously revealed that Dumbledore was gay back in 2009, but the movies had never explicitly referenced the character’s sexuality until this third Fantastic Beasts entry.

“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. “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.”

Only 37 foreign films are released in China every year.

China has a history of censoring LGBTQ+ content in mainstream fare. In February, there was backlash when the re-release of sitcom Friends was stripped of its lesbian storyline, while the Sex and the City spinoff And Just Like That also aired with all gay references taken out. In 2019, a number of gay references were removed from the Chinese release of the musical biopic of queer rock icon Freddie Mercury and in star Rami Malek’s Oscar acceptance speech, the subtitles on Chinese television changed “gay man” to “special group”.

While homosexuality was decriminalised in China in 1997 and removed from an official list of mental disorders in 2001, life under the rule of Xi Jinping has been more conservative and restrictive for many LGBTQ people. In January, gay dating app Grindr was taken off the Apple store and last year the country’s dominant social media service, WeChat, deleted many LGBTQ accounts.

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