In February we reported that the Chinese release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic, was to be de-gayed by Chinese censors. The Chinese version has been released and those cuts, which are said to be more than two minutes, are very evident, according to viewers.
Feili Xie, a 28-year-old gay man from Beijing told ABC Australia that because the scene where Mercury comes out to his girlfriend as liking men was cut, the audience suddenly realizes they have broken up without knowing why: “It is seriously and obviously out of context, where many scenes in the film didn’t make any sense at all.”
According to various reports, Chinese censors also cut a close-up of Mercury’s gyrating crotch; a kiss between Mercury and his manager Paul Prenter; a moment in which Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) calls Mercury’s haircut “gay”; the first encounter between Mercury and his future partner Jim Hutton in which Mercury grabs his crotch, and a later kiss between Mercury and Jim; a moment in which Mercury kisses a man’s cheek at a party before slapping a woman on the ass; the entire scene containing the”I Want To Break Free” video when Mercury and band members are dressed in women’s clothing; the word “sexuality” is changed to “sex life” in a scene in which Mercury has a press conference; Mercury never says “I got it” to his bandmates, referring to AIDS, as censors cut the audio; censors also removed the real-life photo of Mercury and Jim Hutton in the end credits, which said they enjoyed “a loving relationship for the remainder of Freddie’s life.”
CNN adds that a few moments did make the cut: ‘During a press conference scene, even though Mercury was asked directly about his sexual orientation, the term used by the reporter was translated as “sex life” in the Chinese subtitle — changing the question’s meaning entirely.Despite the cuts and mistranslation, the average Chinese viewer can still infer Mercury’s sexuality. Scenes that made the final version include Mercury coming out to his parents by holding the hand of his partner Jim Hutton.’
Chinese broadcasters also censored the words “gay man” from actor Rami Malek’s Oscar acceptance speech, replacing them with “special group.”