Josh Gad Responds to Controversy Over ‘Beauty and the Beast’s’ Gay Moment

Josh Gad says the “gay moment” in Disney’s new “Beauty and the Beast” film is “subtle but incredibly effective,” and “everything that needed to be said on this issue has definitely been said.”

In an interview with People, Gad shut down the criticism of his character’s sexuality, noting that the “film is one of inclusiveness.” Controversy over the moment sparked last week, after director Bill Condon mentioned its inclusion. That led a theater in Alabama to cancel screenings of the film.

“There is so much fear out there of that which we don’t understand, that which we don’t know,” Gad told People. He added that a central theme of the film is “never to judge a book by its cover,” making it particularly ironic that so many are commenting on the film before having seen it.

“You have a character in Gaston who uses his charm offensive to whip other people into a frenzy to go and attack somebody they’ve never met. Somebody that’s different,” Gad added. “Somebody that only represents a danger because [Gaston] says that he represents a danger.”

The comment echos what Gad and Condon told Variety on the red carpet at the film’s premiere; they both noted that the film has especially relevant messages today.

Gaston’s hate and ability to stir hate based on how someone looks is “more resonant than it’s ever been,” Gad said.

Nonetheless, he added, “I do think [the moment] is going to be effective and I do think it’s important.”

Condon told Attitude Magazine last week, “It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.” On the carpet, he pulled back, noting that he didn’t want to make it out to be something that it isn’t.

“It’s part of a celebration of love,” he told Variety. “But I don’t want people to think it’s more than it is and be disappointed.”

WATCH: Emma Watson and the cast of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ bring the classic songs to life

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