5 questions we have about Disney's first explicitly gay character.

In an interview with "Attitude" magazine, Bill Condon, the director of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" dropped a bombshell — the film will feature the studio's first-ever explicitly gay character.

Photo by Walt Disney Pictures.

Condon announced that LeFou — Gaston's obsequious sidekick (played in the movie by Josh Gad) — will be portrayed in the live-action remake as pining for his boss, culminating in an "exclusively gay moment" for the character toward the end of the film.


"It's somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away," Condon told "Attitude."

On the one hand, it's great that Disney is finally putting an explicit LGBTQ character on screen, even if it has been a long time coming. It's even cooler to know that this is just one of many ways that Disney has updated the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story for a more modern era — including making Belle the inventor, instead of her father. Featuring an LGBTQ character is totally a step forward, and we certainly hope LeFou won't be the last.

On the other hand, Condon's statement was vague (albeit intentionally so), and we have some concerns about the decision to make LeFou, of all characters, the first.

1. Will LeFou be just another "gay villain"?

Photo by Walt Disney Pictures.

The trope of the "deliciously" evil antagonist has been around a long time — as explained incisively by this unsparing stand-up bit from 2011 — and Disney has been a prime perpetrator in advancing it. "The Little Mermaid's" Ursula was explicitly modeled on the famous drag queen Divine; "The Lion King's" Scar is, largely, a bundle of preening, limp-wristed, stereotypes; and "Aladdin's" Jafar certainly sends some mixed signals, to say the least.

LeFou isn't the movie's primary villain, but he's unequivocally, definitely on Team Bad. Thus, the studio's first gay character is someone we're primed to pity, laugh at, and root against.

Not only is LeFou not a great guy, he's essentially a sideshow — the antagonist's funny sidekick. Which also makes one wonder...

2. Will LeFou's apparently sincere feelings for Gaston be played for laughs?

LeFou isn't exactly the most three-dimensional character in the Disney canon. In the original animated feature, his appearances are pretty much limited to heinously sucking up to his boss, getting punched in various directions, and generally making a fool of himself.

Will his crush on Gaston be treated as a joke — an extension of his comic relief role? And if it isn't, will that just be ... kind of weird? What would that even look like?

3. If LeFou is, in fact, bisexual, as the filmmakers suggest he might be, will it be portrayed as weird or deviant?

"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon explained in the interview. It's a quote that suggests LeFou might, in fact, be bisexual or at the very least confused about where he stands.

And that's OK! Representation of people who are bi, queer, or simply sexually fluid are also lacking on screen. But LeFou is a clown. Will his confusion be treated as pathetic and odd? We hope not, but given Hollywood's frequent inability to take bisexuality seriously, it's fair to be concerned.

4. Is Gaston and LeFou's romance doomed, as usual?

Photo by Walt Disney Pictures.

At the climax of the original, animated "Beauty and the Beast," after losing his knock-down drag-out brawl with the Beast, Gaston [26-year-old spoiler alert] falls to his death, much to the delight of children everywhere.

Too frequently, romance between gay men on screen isn't allowed to just be. It has to end tragically (cf. "Brokeback Mountain"). Thankfully, that's starting to change (cf. "Moonlight,"), but assuming Disney hasn't reinvented the ending of "Beauty and the Beast," the story of LeFou and Gaston's one-sided romance is going to be the same old tragic gay love story.

5. It's 2017 already. Why did this take so long?

True, he does get to sing the movie’s best song (fight me!), but aside from that, LeFou is a pretty marginal character. His primary purpose is to skitter around after Gaston, making a fool of himself. LeFou's name literally translates to “the fool.”

Openly gay characters have been a fixture on TV and in film for going on two decades now.

This was 20 years ago. Photo by Stewart Cook/Online USA Inc.

It’s not particularly meaningful to slap the “gay” label on a random henchman with a few lines and call it a day, especially one as buffoonish and cartoonish as LeFou. If Disney really wanted to demonstrate its commitment to on-screen equality and not just checking boxes, they’d let an LGBTQ character take the lead for once — perhaps even one of their vaunted princesses (paging Elsa?)

Hopefully the movie addresses these concerns, and if it doesn't, hopefully Disney learns for the future.

It's certainly impossible — and unfair —to judge how the movie handle's LeFou's sexuality before anyone has seen it. But as nuanced, three-dimensional portrayals of LGBTQ people become the norm and not the exception, it's important that Disney — ubiquitous and beloved as its films, TV shows, and characters are with children and parents all over the world — comes along for the ride.

Getting a gay character up on screen, even at this late date, is a good start for the studio. Hopefully it's the start of more frequent and substantial LGBTQ representation to come.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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