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Fantastic Beasts scene confirming Dumbledore is gay cut for Chinese release

Maggie Baska April 12, 2022
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A still of Dumbledore holding a glowing wand from the film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

China censors references to same-sex romance between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. (YouTube/Warner Bros Pictures)

Dialogue confirming that Albus Dumbledore is gay has been removed from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore to appease the Chinese government.

Warner Bros has removed about six seconds of LGBT+ related dialogue from the movie’s 142-minute runtime to appease Chinese censors, the Independent reported. The main bulk of the edits concerned a previous romantic relationship and feelings between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). 

In the film, Dumbledore revealed that he went along with Grindelwald’s evil plans “because I was in love with you” and also referenced the “summer Gellert and I fell in love”. These lines officially make it canon for the first time in the Harry Potter franchise that the eventual Hogwarts headmaster is gay and had a romantic relationship with the Dark Wizard. 

However, Warner Bros confirmed in a statement to Variety that these lines were removed for audiences in China to secure the film’s release in the country.

Warner Bros claimed it is “committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release” which includes “making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors”. Despite the cuts, the film studio argued the “spirit” of the Fantastic Beasts movie “remains intact”. 

“In the case of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact,” the statement added. 

“We want audiences everywhere in the world to see and enjoy this film, and it’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits.”

While not made explicit throughout the books and the original Harry Potter films, author JK Rowling later confirmed that Dumbledore is gay and had a relationship with Grindelwald

Since the release of the last Fantastic Beasts film, Rowling faced immense backlash over her so-called gender critical beliefs, which she detailed in a lengthy essay on her official website in June 2020

The British author expressed her worries about the “huge explosion in young women wishing to transition” and has also claimed that reforming gender-recognition laws in Scotland will “harm the most vulnerable women”.

Her repeated comments about the lives of trans people have been widely condemned by Harry Potter stars, the LGBT+ community, celebritiesDrag Race royalty and Harry Potter fans worldwide.

Chinese censors have cracked down on expressions of the LGBT+ community in the media and the country’s government announced in September that it would ban depictions of “sissy” men from TV.

The government’s TV regulator said broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal aesthetics” on screen. Broadcasters should instead “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture”, the government said.

Earlier this year, Chinese censors deleted scenes of men kissing, references to a lesbian character and mentions of orgasms from the US sitcom Friends

Several fans expressed their disdain for the censorship on the social media site Weibo, and one person described the move as an attempt at “defiling a classic”.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is out in theatres now.

More: China, Fantastic Beasts, JK Rowling

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