New York (CNN Business) – Warner Bros. has cut two lines of dialogue about a homosexual relationship for the Chinese release of its latest Harry Potter film.
The six seconds of dialogue in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” show the romance between the male characters Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, and Gellert Grindelwald, played by Mads Mikkelsen. The broken lines are “I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.”
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The film opened last week in China, the world’s largest film market, and where the government is tightening its grip on media censorship.
In a statement to CNN Business, a Warner Bros. spokesperson said it is “committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release” and that it “extends to circumstances that require making nuanced cuts to respond sensitively to a variety of factors in the market”.
“Dumbledore” opens this weekend in the United States. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.)
“Our hope is to release our features globally just as their creators released them, but we have historically faced small edits made in local markets,” the studio said. “In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. agreed to those changes to meet local requirements, but the spirit of the film remains intact.”
Warner Bros. said it wants viewers around the world to “see and enjoy this film,” the third in the Fantastic Beasts series of Harry Potter prequels.
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“It is important to us that the Chinese public also have the opportunity to experience it, even with these minor edits,” the studio said.
In 2016, China’s top media regulator issued new guidelines that banned TV shows that promote the “Western way of life,” including depictions of cleavage, drinking, smoking, and homosexuality.
As a result, this is not the first time that China has suppressed LGBTQ plots. In February, major Chinese streaming platforms censored a storyline in the 1990s hit TV series “Friends” in which the character of Ross gets a divorce after his wife Carol realizes that she is lesbian.
In another example from March 2019, more than two minutes of LGBTQ content, including scenes of two men kissing and the use of the word “gay,” were removed from the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
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