Bohemian Rhapsody Opens in China, With a Big Difference

Gay scenes bit the dust
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 7:24 AM CDT
China Cuts Gay Scenes From Bohemian Rhapsody
This image released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Rami Malek in a scene from "Bohemian Rhapsody."   (Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

Bohemian Rhapsody was released in China last week, but Chinese audiences saw a shorter movie than American ones: The country's censors axed references to homosexuality in the Freddie Mercury biopic, the BBC reports. The deleted scenes include the moment when Mercury, played by Rami Malek, comes out to his then-girlfriend, two scenes where men kiss, and the entire scene in which Queen dresses in women's clothes for the "I Want to Break Free" video, reports CNN. The censored version cuts straight to the band's reaction to the video being censored. In a scene where Mercury tells his bandmates he has AIDS, the dialogue is silenced.

China legalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from a list of "mental disorders" in 2001, but the country isn't exactly a bastion of gay rights: There is no legal protection against discrimination, and censors have stepped up activity in recent years to ban depictions of what Beijing deems "abnormal sexual behavior." Filmgoers in China complained that the censored version of the movie is confusing, misleading, and disrespectful to Mercury, while others refused to see it at all, the New York Times reports. "On principle, I refuse to watch this type of crudely censored film," says 24-year-old fashion writer Li Yang. Studio 20th Century Fox declined to comment on the removal of the scenes. (More Bohemian Rhapsody stories.)

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