Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has released in China but all the scenes with references to Freddie Mercury’s sexuality or explicit physical contact between men have been removed.
Rami Malek played the role of the Queen frontman in the film and won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance.
According to CNN, the censorship reportedly includes cutting any mention of the word “gay” from the film, as well as excising a scene in which the actors recreate the filming of the “I Want to Break Free” music video, which famously features Mercury and the other members of Queen in drag, satirizing bored housewives. It also cuts the major interactions between Mercury and his long-term partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker).
Homosexuality has been legal for more than two decades, but Chinese censors banned “abnormal sexual behaviour”, including same-sex relationships, shown in films and TV in 2016.
Even Malek’s best actor Oscar acceptance speech could not escape censorship in China, as the words “gay man” were cut from the broadcast.
Bohemian Rhapsody, which released in the US in November, was a critical and commercial success. It earned four Academy Awards, including Best Actor, and was nominated for Best Picture.