Bohemian Rhapsody faces censorship in Malaysia due to anti-homosexuality laws

Censors have reportedly cut 24 minutes from the biographical film about Queen and its frontman Freddie Mercury

Clémence Michallon
New York
Monday 12 November 2018 20:59
Bohemian Rhapsody teaser trailer

Bohemian Rhapsody is reportedly being censored in Malaysia due to the country's strict anti-homosexuality laws.

Censors have removed 24 minutes from the biopic that tells the story of Queen and its frontman Freddie Mercury, according to the Malay Mail.

Among the deleted passages is the video for the British rock band's 1984 hit "I Want To Break Free", the publication reported.

The clip sees all of the band's members in drag, with Mercury vacuuming in a black miniskirt and a sleeveless pink turtleneck.

Another scene, in which Mercury tells his one-time fiancée Mary Austin that he is bisexual, was cut as well, the Malay Mail wrote.

In Malaysia, Bohemian Rhapsody has been given an 18 rating, while it's deemed PG-13 in the US and in the UK.

Discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people is "pervasive" in Malaysia, as previously noted by Human Rights Watch.

In September this year, two women aged 22 and 32 were caned in the country after attempting to have consensual sex with each other.

Some people have criticised the censorship of Bohemian Rhapsody on social media, saying the cuts make it hard to follow the film.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

"Disclaimer for watching Bohemian Rhapsody in Malaysia: they cut out ALL the gay scenes thus leaving out HUGE PLOT HOLES," one person wrote.

"I watched it in both Singapore & Malaysia and I realise you won’t fully understand if you watch it in Malaysia. Recommend to watch someplace else!!"

In other parts of the world, the biopic, which stars Rami Malek as Mercury, has been accused of glossing over parts of the singer's life, such as his sexual orientation and his HIV diagnosis.

Despite mixed reviews, the biopic scored the second biggest box office opening for a music biopic following its release in October.

The film reached $72.5m (£56.4m) at the worldwide box office with an additional $50m (£38.9m) in the US, amounting to a global launch of $122.5m (£95m). As Forbes noted, it has since topped $100m (£77.8m) domestically.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in