For Chinese viewers, Warner Bros. eliminated references to a lesbian connection from the latest Fantastic Beasts film.
Six seconds of the third instalment, The Secrets of Dumbledore, were deleted because they hinted at Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s amorous past.
In 2007, JK Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series, revealed that Dumbledore was gay, but the films had never explicitly stated his sexuality until recently.
Warner Bros., the film’s producers, stated that the “spirit of the film” survives.
In the Chinese version of the film, the lines “because I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love” were deleted from the exchange between Jude Law’s titular character and Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald.
The remainder of the movie stayed the same, including the realisation that the characters have a close relationship.
Warner Bros. said in a statement to Variety that it was “dedicated to maintaining the integrity of every film we release,” which included making “sensitively nuanced trims” for particular regions.
For more than two decades, homosexuality has been legal in China, and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry stopped classifying it as a mental disease in 2001.
However, same-sex marriage is not recognised, and some LGBT people continue to face discrimination, particularly from close family members who have traditional expectations.
According to a 2016 survey by the United Nations Development Programme, only about 15% of LGBT people in China come out to their close family members.
Xie Xiao, a member of CINEMQ, a queer movie collective based in Shanghai, said in 2020 that “some people who have already come out successfully are proud.”
“In the meantime, some people are terrified that their family members are aware of their sexuality.”
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise in the United Kingdom were dissatisfied in 2018 when it was revealed that Dumbledore would not be depicted as “explicitly” gay in the previous film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
However, filmmaker David Yates told Newsbeat that the characters had already “fallen in love with one another’s views, ideology, and each other.”