Malaysian censors clip the wings of 'Rocketman'

2019-08-02 03:43:38 GMT2019-08-02 11:43:38(Beijing Time) Sina English
Elton John and his husband David Furnish attend the UK premiere of the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' in London, Britain, May 20, 2019. Elton John and his husband David Furnish attend the UK premiere of the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' in London, Britain, May 20, 2019.

Malaysia has censored gay sex scenes in “Rocketman,” a movie musical based on the life of British singer Elton John, sparking condemnation from art critics yesterday that the country was becoming a “nanny state.”

Film buffs in the Southeast Asian country also took to social media to post criticism of the cuts, which included scenes depicting gay sex and men kissing, after “Rocketman” was released in Malaysian cinemas last week.

“We do not allow any scenes that promote LGBTQ in films that are for public viewing,” said Safaruddin Mohammad Ali, who heads Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board’s films unit.

“Although it is about the real life of Elton John, it is not for him to allow the public to see whatever he does or whatever activities he indulges in that is not our culture.”

Sodomy is punishable by up to 20-year imprisonment in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country of 32 million which is also home to many religious minorities.

Safaruddin and the film’s local distributor, United International Pictures, refused to disclose how many scenes were cut. It has received a rating restricting it to viewers who are 18 and older in Malaysia.

“We don’t need a nanny state,” said Malaysian TV personality and art critic Sharaad Kuttan. “Governments today cannot control the representation of the LGBT community and individuals — they are fighting a losing battle,” he said, referring to the popularity of platforms such as Netflix.

(Agencies)

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