A Christian school in Wong Tai Sin has warned parents not to let their children watch the new Hollywood movie version of the Beauty and the Beast because it has homosexual characters and scenes.
In a notice to its students’ parents, the International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School said they should refrain from bringing or allowing their children to watch the film, a musical fantasy film directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson.
“God dislikes homosexuals,” the letter issued by school principal Chan Wing-sang said.
The latest version of Beauty and the Beast, jointly produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films, has a new twist in the plot: the villain Gaston’s sidekick LeFou is confused about his sexuality.
In Hong Kong, the movie is rated Level One, or suitable for all ages.
Condon has said he intended the movie to become one of the Disney’s first and unique takes on homosexuality.
In its notice, the school stressed that the “Bible taught children with the absolute truth” and that “homosexuality is disliked” by God.
It suggested that even if they watch the movie, they should “look after their children” and “offer them guidance” to “follow the correct path”.
The notice has a reply slip to be handed in before next Friday with the parent’s signature and phone number.
Social worker Cecilia Ng Kam-kuen of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups said she doesn’t believe the movie should be banned, but parents would do well to discuss the sensitive topic with their children.
Leung Seung-ming, a professor of psychology and dean of education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said it is unavoidable for children to encounter controversial subjects in movies as well as their daily lives, Ming Pao Daily reported.
He said if they do watch the movie, parents could discuss its contents with their children and tackle the issues raised in the film in a sincere manner.
Leung stressed that not all movies conform with the mindset and moral values of parents, and it is up to the parents to set the right way to view them.
Joseph Cho Man-kit, executive co-director of the LGBT advocacy group Nu Tong Xue She, said the school that issued the warning is being too sensitive about homosexuality.
He noted that the principal himself had not yet seen the movie before issuing the notice and therefore might not be in a position to judge it.
Despite the school principal’s warning, Choi Chi-sum, head of the anti-gay group Society For Truth And Light, praised the movie for being a great production, noting that it has very little homosexual implications.
He said the alleged homosexual content of the movie had been exaggerated so that people would talk about it.
The movie has also raised controversy in Malaysia and Singapore. The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has asked the film distributor to cut the scenes with homosexual content.
Disney has refused to do so, and instead moved back the movie’s premiere to give more time for the board to decide whether to approve its release in its original form and length, or not at all.
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