Alan Menken, who, along with lyricist Howard Ashman, wrote the songs for Disney's 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast and contributed new songs with Tim Rice to this week's live action film, has a problem with the media's interpretation of the story arc of Josh Gad's character, LeFou, who has been widely billed as Disney's fist openly gay movie character. Speaking to comic book themed wrestling and pokemon website ComicBook.com, who were on Menken's lawn at a press junket, Menken said of Gay LeFou:
I know there's been this whole discussion, which is to me, absolutely absurd. It's just nuts. As far as I can tell, some journalist in England decided to make it his cause célèbre to push this agenda. And it's really not really part of the movie in any overt way at all…any more than it was in the original. To me, it's an utter non-issue. And I'd appreciate people realizing that it's a non-issue because it's just silly. But that's journalism, and I understand.
Menken is referring to a report from British Attitude magazine, which kicked off the Gay LeFou furor. However, the actual comments come directly from Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon, who explicitly states:
LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. 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.
That's pretty much irrefutable, but it hasn't stopped Menken, who says, "You know, I don't see him pining. To me, he has always been look(ing) up to Gaston, in a nerdy kind of way."
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters on Friday, and, by all accounts, regardless of what Menken believes, it will feature a totally gay LeFou.