A same-sex kiss in the script of the famous play "Les Miserables" — originally written by 19th-century French writer Victor Hugo — has been cut while it is being performed in Singapore as audiences have complained against it. The Sir Cameron Mackintosh production has deleted a kiss scene between two men following outrage from the audience.
The production opened on May 31 after receiving a "General" certificated from the Media Development Authority (MDA). The authority was quoted as saying by BBC that the same-sex kiss was not "highlighted" when the script was submitted. The authority said the production house edited the scene, which was scripted to take place during the "Beggars at the Feast" song, after they were informed that they violated the "General" rating.
"Beggars at the Feast is a comical scene during which the villain Thénardier makes fun of the wedding guests. He gives one of them, whom he describes as queer, a quick peck on the lips. The kiss was intended to be comic. On 3 June, we took immediate action and worked with the producers to adapt the scene," Moses Lye, head of Mediacorp VizPro International, told International Business Times India in a statement.
The move draws concern as homosexuality is a controversial issue in the island city-state. Sex between men is still punishable in Singapore.
"The inclusion of the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted to MDA for classification. The performance was thus given a 'General' rating," MDA was quoted as saying by BBC. "MDA will take action against this breach of licensing conditions."
"Under our classification code, such a scene would fall under an 'Advisory' rating," the MDA was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "The applicant decided to remove the scene so as to keep the 'General' rating for the rest of its run."
The issue comes in the aftermath of a controversy around a gay rights rally that took place on June 4 in Singapore. The rally called Pink Dot was funded by multinational companies like JPMorgan, Google and Barclays. Authorities in Singapore had said foreign companies "should not fund, support or influence such events." The Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs doesn't allow foreigners to organise or speak at events highlighting LGBTQ+ rights in the city, the Straits Times reported.