The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody may have won a mess of Oscars, including Best Actor for Rami Malek, but it came under considerable fire for softening frontman Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality. If you thought the film was cowardly, you haven’t seen the version released in China. As per CNN, the nation’s censors chopped out any and all LGBTQ content.
That leaves… well, still a lot. CNN highlights only a handful of “offenses”: a close-up of a fully clothed male crotch, two kisses between two men, characters spouting the word “gay,” the entire cross-dressing “I Want to Break Free” number, and the grope-heavy scene that introduces Mercury’s future partner Jim Hutton. The latter leaves a plot hole, with Hutton magically appearing later out-of-nowhere.
In 2016, Chinese censors formally banned any portrayal of “abnormal sexual behavior,” which the powers that be decided included anything remotely LGTBQ.
Still, some members of China’s LGBTQ community were happy that Bohemian Rhapsody was released there at all. The nation only allows a low number of Western films to play theatrically in the country, and apparently, minimally gay or not, Bohemian Rhapsody’s $888 million global haul, as of this writing, was too big to ignore.
Others weren’t so stoked. Filmmaker and LGBTQ activist Fan Pop said it was “dangerous” to interpret this as a win. “If everyone becomes content with this kind of ‘victory,’” he said, “then the whole world will always submit to authority, creators won’t be respected and there will be no protection for the interests of the audience.”
This is all unfortunate, but while they were butchering the film, did they at least go back and re-edit the one notorious hyper-cut meeting scene that caused anger, especially after the film won the Oscar for Best Editing?