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Warner Bros. takes heat for removing LGBTQ content from film to appease Chinese censors

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Some outlets have taken to Twitter to denounce the recent news that the latest film in the Harry Potter universe will cut out LGBTQ dialogue to appease Chinese censors.

Variety reported on April 12 that “references to a same-sex relationship in ‘Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets’ have been removed from the film by Warner Bros. for the film’s China release.”

According to the outlet, Warner Brothers “has accepted China’s request to remove six seconds from the film”, which is 142 minutes long.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 08: Writer JK Rowling attends "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" World premiere at UGC Cine Cite Bercy on November 8, 2018 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 08: Writer JK Rowling attends the ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ World Premiere at UGC Cine Cite Bercy on November 8, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The omitted content “alludes to the romantic past” between the film’s main characters, Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

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“The lines of dialogue ‘because I was in love with you’ and ‘Summer Gellert and I fell in love’ were cut from ‘Dumbledore’s Secrets,'” the outlet explained.

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling officially declared in 2009 that Dumbledore, one of the most important and powerful characters in the universe, was gay. Although no movie or book in the Harry Potter franchise, or any of the spin-off franchises, has explored the wizard’s sexuality until this film.

Thus, several members of the media, especially pro-LGBTQ outlets, felt let down by Warner Bros.’ decision, expressing their strong disagreement on social media.

LGBTQ publication Out Magazine condemned the decision on Twitter, saying, “It’s a shame that in 2022 some countries continue to censor LGBTQIA+ characters in film and TV.”

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Vox.com podcast editor Matt Collette scoffed at the decision, tweeting, “lololol ‘Only six seconds of the film’s 142 minute runtime were removed.'”

In a later remark, he blasted Warner Bros. and JK Rowling about it, tweeting, “so it seems likely that Warner Bros and JKR were never particularly willing to go either.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jude Law in a scene from

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jude Law in a scene from “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”. The British actor says he spent an afternoon taking notes from author JK Rowling who told him about Dumbledore’s life before he became the world’s most powerful wizard and a fan favorite of the Harry Potter series. He’ll play the beloved character in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which hits theaters Friday.

Detroit Free Press Pop Culture critic Julie Hinds blasted the corporate cynicism she said was behind the decision. “A major studio is working its magic, making tolerance and acceptance disappear,” the writer tweeted.

BuzzFeedNews’ Brandon Wall called the decision “pathetic.” He tweeted, “It’s pathetic how willing movie studios are to censor even the most superficial symbolic LGBTQ+ moments (in this case, six seconds) in order to get a release in China.”

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Podcast host and director of marketing and commerce at Insider Intelligence Jeremy Goldman tweeted a sarcastic quip in response to the news, writing, “Warner Bros. has shut down Fantastic Beasts 3’s gay dialogue in China. Ah, the China, you never cease to amaze us.” .”