The Henagar Drive-In Theatre in Alabama is under new management. And that management is not happy that the old owners had scheduled Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast as one of the movies they will be showing. Especially now that we know Beauty and the Beast will have a gay character for the first time.
The news was posted on the theater’s Facebook page:
In case the embed doesn’t expand properly for you, here’s the full announcement:
As of December 16th the Henagar Drive-In is under new ownership. Movies scheduled prior to that date and four weeks after this date were not scheduled by the new owners. That being said...It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing Beauty and the Beast at the Henagar Drive-In when it comes out. When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine. For those that do not know Beauty and the Beast is “premiering” their first homosexual character. The producer also says at the end of the movie “there will be a surprise for same-sex couples”. If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language. Thank you for your support!
Part of this statement includes the words “If we can not take our 11-year-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it.” The theater’s website has two movies on its “Now Showing” page: Moana, a PG-rated Disney film (just like Beauty and the Beast is) starring a Polynesian demigod, and Rogue One, which is rated PG-13 and features insurgents committing suicide bombings at government installations.
Sopan Deb of the New York Times published an unedited transcript of his interview with Henagar Drive-In Theatre owner Carol Laney. In it, she explains that she has “family members who are homosexuals” and that “it does not mean I’m a bigot.” She puts the decision down to having to take a stand as a Christian:
And here’s her answer to why the movie, where a woman is trapped in a stranger’s home and then falls in love with a beast, was okay before a minor character turned out to be gay:
It’s unlikely that this is going to put much of a dent in Disney’s bottom line, as the movie is currently on pace to make over $100 million on opening night. But it’s a reminder that there are still people who think the mere existence of a gay character is considered too “adult” for children.