Bohemian Rhapsody faces cuts in China, six LGBT scenes and the word ‘gay’ removed
The Chinese censor board has come down heavily on Hollywood film Bohemian Rhapsody, the award-winning biopic on British rock band Queen. After its release on March 22, it has now been reported that six LGBT scenes have been excluded from the film along with the word “gay”. While the film was received positively around the world, a 2016 rule is reportedly the reason behind the cuts.
The cuts come in accordance with the rule by the Chinese censor board in 2016 which banned all portrayal of "abnormal sexual behaviour" including gay and lesbian relationships on television or online shows. The film, which revolves around the band’s frontman Freddie Mercury has several scenes in which Freddie, played by Rami Malek, cut - one when Freddie’s longtime friend and lover Mary confronts him about his sexuality, he says “I’m bisexual” but Mary says, “No Freddie, you’re gay”. However, the most shocking is cutting the scene where Queen dresses up like women to shoot the song I Want To Break Free. Instead, it cuts directly to the band’s heated reaction to MTV banning the music video, which can be quite confusing for most viewers.
However, homosexuality is legal in China after the authorities removed it from the official list of mental disorders in 2001. Interestingly, even though there are cuts, many members from the LGBT community are calling it a win because of the limited number of Western films screened in the country every year. Chinese documentary filmmaker and LGBT activist Fan Popo, however, thinks it is “dangerous” to view the release of the film as a success as it looks like the world has given in to the cut by the authorities at cost, but it is actually limiting the creativity of the makers.