Bohemian Rhapsody, last year's biopic about rock gods Queen, has proven a smash hit, with actor Rami Malek winning an Oscar for his portrayal of gay frontman Freddie Mercury. Now, the BBC reports that Bohemian Rhapsody has finally been released in China -- but that all references to Freddie Mercury's sexuality have been removed.
China's strict censorship laws, which forbid the portrayal of "deviant" sexual behavior, resulted in the word "gay" and scenes of two men kissing to be entirely removed from the film. Also cut from the film were a shot of Mercury's crotch and the entire scene in which the band members make the video for I Want To Break Free while wearing women's clothing.
While homosexuality is legal in China, explicit references to same-sex marriage and gay sex are strictly prohibited from movies and television.
While the reaction to the film has been generally positive on Chinese social media -- 80% of users on the social media site Sina Weibo gave the film 5/5 ratings -- others commented that they thought the censorship did an injustice to the film and the characters it portrays.
"If there were no deleted scenes it would have been better," wrote one Weibo user. "Why is it necessary to delete gay-related content? Doesn't a person's life... deserve to be complete?"
In his Oscar acceptance speech, Rami Malek said, "I think about what it would've been like to tell little Bubba Rami that one day, this might happen to him, and I think his curly-haired little mind would've been blown. That kid was struggling with his identity, trying to figure himself out, and I think to anyone struggling with theirs, trying to discover their voice: listen, we made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself, and the fact that I'm celebrating him, and his story with you tonight, is proof that we're longing for stories like this."