Director Bill Condon said in an interview with Attitude, a British gay lifestyle magazine, that LeFou, the goofy sidekick to the film's primary villain, Gaston, will come to terms with his sexuality. The character is played by actor Josh Gad.
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon said.
"And that's what has its payoff at the end, which I don't want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie," he told Attitude.
Social media reaction was mixed. While some people welcomed Disney's move to be more inclusive, many were disappointed with the choice of Disney's first gay character.
Lefou is literally "the idiot, the fool" and he's best friends with the villian. Equating his sexuality with those characteristics is meh.— @xwithmywoes
This is a step and it is progress. But we need strong and heroic characters to represent the LGBTQ community.— @xwithmywoes
Disney's making its first gay character with LeFou and he's a clownish sidekick who exists to prop up his straight best friend. Great job.— @stillgray
big ups 2 disney! first gay character is a mincing sycophant named, literally, "the fool." ground hitherto unbroken in literature & theatre. pic.twitter.com/6l8ne0OReV— @benkling
Disney was not immediately available for a comment.
The remake of Disney's 1991 animated movie, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, hits U.S. theaters on March 17. There are already hundreds of sold-out showtimes, according to movie ticketing service Fandango.