Warner Brothers accepted China’s request to remove a gay romance from the new Harry Potter universe film.
The studio removed six seconds of the 142-minute film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” at the request of China, Variety first reported. The short, intimate dialogue was between male characters Dumbledore and Grindelwald who reportedly said “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.”
“As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors,” Warner Brothers told Variety. “Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.”
“In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact,” the statement continued. “We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, revealed that Dumbledore was gay in 2009, but that fact had never been included in the film series, the outlet reported. (RELATED: ‘Violation Of Trust’: Alabama Public Television Bans ‘Arthur’ Same-Sex Marriage Episode)
LGBTQ organizations and activists immediately condemned the decision, including LGBTQ publication Out Magazine who said “it’s a shame that, in 2022, certain countries are still censoring LGBTQIA+ characters in film and television.”
It’s a shame that, in 2022, certain countries are still censoring LGBTQIA+ characters in film and television. https://t.co/5cyie4pXao
— Out Magazine (@outmagazine) April 12, 2022
It’s pathetic how willing movie studios are to censor even the most perfunctory LGBTQ+ token moments (in this case, six seconds) in order to secure a China release https://t.co/Ry94J6TSkz
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) April 12, 2022
Warner Bros. cut some Fantastic Beasts 3’s gay dialogue in China.
Ah, China, you never cease to not surprise us. https://t.co/upJUiO695O
— Jeremy Goldman 🇺🇦 (@jeremarketer) April 12, 2022
Rowling faced backlash in 2021 for defending a researcher who lost her job after saying that “men cannot change into women.”
“Dress however you please,” Rowling tweeted. “Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”