Don’t Say Gay? Media Downplays Edited Chinese Version Of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ That Omits Homosexual References

Secrets of Dumbledore
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The same publications who can’t stop talking about Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which they falsely refer to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, are curiously silent on China’s discrimination against gay people. Variety reported that “gay dialogue” was removed from the Chinese version of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” but the “spirit of the film remains.”

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling had already informed fans that Dumbledore was gay in 2009. The previous installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series never addressed the character’s sexuality explicitly, however, this latest release does make a passing reference to it. In total, six seconds were cut from China’s release of “Secrets of Dumbledore.”

Apparently, the omitted scene “alluded to the romantic past between male characters Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen),” per Variety. Warner Bros. agreed to China’s demand to cut the lines “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.” The two men are seen as having a very close intimate relationship, but without these lines it’s never made clear that their feelings for each other were romantic in nature.

“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 Bros. said in a statement. “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.”

The movie was released in China on April 8, one week ahead of the American release on April 15. Variety reported that “Secrets of Dumbledore” earned $9.7 million (per current exchange rates) in the first three days.

This obviously isn’t the first time American films were edited for release in other countries, including China. Earlier this year, some Chinese viewers had harsh criticism for a completely rewritten version of the 1999 cult classic “Fight Club” released on China’s streaming platform Tencent Video. 

The original version ended with massive explosions that signified the triumph of anarchy. Meanwhile, the censored version available in China cut off before the bombs went off because police managed to ruin the main character’s plan. Instead, the screen faded to black and showed the text, “The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.”

After intense backlash, Chinese censors restored the original version. 

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