by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Hollywood executives were united in opposition to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but a major studio just caved to the Chinese Communist Party’s demands that mentions of homosexuality be stripped from the latest installment of the Harry Potter series.
For audiences in China, Warner Bros. Pictures removed dialogue from Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore that acknowledged its title character, Albus Dumbledore, had a gay romantic relationship, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A Warner Bros. spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter the studio has complied before with “edits made in local markets” but that the “spirit of the film remains intact.”
The news comes as many in Hollywood press studios to cut off Florida over its Parental Rights in Education bill, which banned classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for young kids. A major association of film writers asked executives to stop filming in the southern state as a way to “Show, don’t tell, that you value the LGBTQ+ community.” Critics, including many Hollywood stars, have misleadingly referred to the education bill as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, though there is no such injunction in it. The passage of the bill prompted celebrities to chant “gay” in unison during the 94th Academy Awards.
Fantastic Beasts made nearly $10 million in China during its opening weekend. It will remain uncut in its U.S. version and premiere in Florida on April 15.
Though it has lucrative arrangements with American production companies, China has a history of censoring U.S. films. In February, Vice News reported that Tencent, China’s streaming giant, censored the ending of the 1999 cult classic Fight Club, which culminates in a vast anarchist plot to overthrow the government.