China to remove LGBT scenes from Bohemian Rhapsody

Film will only be released after shots of Mercury kissing other men have been dropped from film, reports say

The Freddie Mercury and Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will have all overt LGBT scenes removed for its release in China, it has been reported.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, at least a minute will be cut from the film in order to secure permission for it to be screened in Chinese cinemas, including scenes where Mercury (played by Rami Malek) kisses other male characters. Scenes of drug use will also be removed.

China’s reluctance to allow LGBT-themed films to reach cinema audiences was underlined when a domestic TV streaming service, Mango TV, was reported to have censored Malek’s acceptance speech for the best actor Oscar on 24 February, replacing the phrase “gay man” with “special group” in its subtitles.

Although a major commercial success all over the globe, Bohemian Rhapsody is likely to secure only a small-scale release in China – unlike Oscar-winners Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name, which failed to be released there at all. However, the live-action film Beauty and the Beast, with its brief “gay moment”, was given a significant release in 2017, earning a reported $85m.

Bohemian Rhapsody has already attracted considerable criticism for perceived “straightwashing” in its originally released form, with suggestions that it glossed over Mercury’s real-life hedonist persona. However, LGBTI activist Gary Nunn argued in the Guardian that film was “inspiring” and a “job well done”.


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bohemian Rhapsody's Chinese cut: no homosexuality, no frocks – and no Aids
Three minutes of censored footage from the Freddie Mercury biopic has been lost for viewers in China

Catherine Shoard

27, Mar, 2019 @1:17 PM

Article image
Why Bohemian Rhapsody should win the best picture Oscar
It was panned by the critics but the Freddie Mercury biopic has proven a hit with cinemagoers. Did critics get it wrong?

Alex Needham

21, Feb, 2019 @9:51 AM

Article image
Rami Malek wins best actor Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody
Malek takes the honour for his role as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic, which has been dogged by controversy due to its director Bryan Singer

Andrew Pulver

25, Feb, 2019 @3:45 AM

Article image
Rami Malek: working with Bryan Singer was ‘not pleasant’
The Oscar-nominated actor has spoken out about his experiences filming Bohemian Rhapsody

Staff and agencies

04, Feb, 2019 @10:52 AM

Article image
Bohemian Rhapsody review – Freddie Mercury biopic bites the dust
Rami Malek’s impersonation adds a kind of magic to this Queen-produced rock slog with a troubling moralistic subtext

Steve Rose

23, Oct, 2018 @9:00 PM

Article image
Freddie Mercury biopic trailer: killer Queen or queerwashed cop-out?
The first teaser for Bohemian Rhapsody has landed, and there’s a distinct lack of anything wild or interesting. Do stop this now, I’m having such a bad time

Caspar Salmon

16, May, 2018 @2:30 PM

Article image
Oscar nominations 2019: Roma and The Favourite deserve acclaim, but no female directors is woeful
The Academy consensus has produced two blue chip frontrunners, but passed over some exceptional films directed by women in the process

Peter Bradshaw

22, Jan, 2019 @4:00 PM

Article image
Bohemian Rhapsody: first trailer of Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic released
First footage goes online of long-in-development film about big-selling British rockers, starring Mr Robot’s Rami Malek

Guardian film

15, May, 2018 @1:30 PM

Article image
The Grinch steals ahead of Bohemian Rhapsody at UK box office
Festive season hits the multiplexes as the animated grump climbs ahead of rockers, soldiers and Widows

Charles Gant

13, Nov, 2018 @1:02 PM

Article image
Bohemian Rhapsody's portrait of Freddie Mercury isn't homophobic – it's inspiring | Gary Nunn
Bohemian Rhapsody has been attacked for stigmatising the singer’s sexuality – but as a gay man and LGBTQI campaigner, I see a job well done

Gary Nunn

09, Nov, 2018 @4:16 PM