Boy Erased will not screen in Brazil

Universal Pictures denies censorship

by Jennie Kermode

Boy Erased
Boy Erased

Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased, which tells the story of a young man who undergoes gay conversion therapy, has had its expected opening in Brazil this month cancelled amid accusations of censorship. The film is based on the memoir of American Garrard Conley, who now lives openly as a gay man, and has been widely praised by critics.

"I felt that this could happen and I am very sad that this kind of thing happens in an incredible country," tweeted Conley after the announcement, referring to the decision as 'censorship', but he has since deleted the tweet. Universal Pictures has released a statement saying that the decision was purely "a commercial issue based on the cost of the launch campaign versus the estimated box office in theaters." It has pointed out that it is also cancelling the Brazilian release of Welcome To Marwen, which stars Steve Carell as a victim of assault who recovers by building a model village.

Intrinsic Publishing, which published Conley's memoir, says that the book will continue to be available in Brazil but that it regrets the cancellation of the film.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who has previously asserted that he is homophobic and proud of it, denied being involved in censoring the film.

Conversion therapy, which has been shown to increase suicidal ideation by almost nine times and has been directly linked to a number of deaths around the world, was banned in Brazil for 18 years but the ruling was overturned by a judge in 2017. Its legal status is currently in dispute but it is widely practised.

Boy Erased is set to open in the UK on Friday.

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