‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ opens in China with all references to Freddie Mercury’s sexuality removed

The Queen biopic has been censored for release in the country

Bohemian Rhapsody has been released in China, but with references to homosexuality removed from the film.

The Queen biopic tells the story of the band and frontman Freddie Mercury up to their infamous 1985 Live Aid appearance and features scenes that see the star kissing other men.

According to the BBC, the Chinese release saw several key scenes deleted from the movie, including ones which showed two men kissing or featured the word “gay”. All references to Mercury’s sexuality were edited out, while the scene in which he comes out to his then-girlfriend was also removed. 

Other scenes including a recreation of the band’s music video for single ‘I Want To Break Free’, which saw them dress up in women’s clothes, a close up of Mercury’s thrusting crotch as he performed on stage and scenes featuring the singer and his partner Jim Hutton, which explained how the pair later embarked on a relationship, were also not present in the censored release.

Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Chinese screenings come as a surprise due to the country’s history of blocking content featuring gay characters. The film will only be given a limited release at present, however, if it proves popular with cinema-goers, it could be picked up for a wider release.

Rami Malek won Best Actor for his role as Mercury at last month’s Oscars (February 24). Chinese broadcasters were criticised for censoring his acceptance speech, with subtitles translating “gay man” to “special group”.

While collecting the award, the actor said the film’s success showed “we’re longing for stories like this.” “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself,” he said.

Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most awards of the night at the annual awards ceremony, including Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing. It was also nominated for Best Picture but lost out to Green Book.

The film was criticised for “straightwashing” Mercury after a teaser video was released. Lucy Boynton, who plays the star’s former fiancée Mary Austin, later hit back at the criticisms, calling them “frustrating.”