Pride director Matthew Warchus has defended distributors who removed gay references from the cover of the US DVD cover. He told BBC Radio 5 Live he “understands” why all gay references were removed from the DVD cover for its US release.

The film, about a group of gay and lesbian activists who rallied in support of striking miners in the 1980s, was released in the UK to acclaim last year and won Top Prize at British Independent Film Awards.

However, the US DVD cover makes a number of changes, entirely removing homosexuality from the synopsis and digitally edited out a banner which said “Lesbians and Gays support the miners.

Matthew Warchus said he “understands” the changes as part of a “valid” marketing strategy.

“Changing the cover is kind of clumsy and a bit foolish,” he told Radio 5’s Phil Williams. “But this is a film that is loved by people of all political persuasions and sexual orientations. “I’m just keen for as many people who have yet to see the film to see it.”Movies: Pride DVD cover - UK Version featuring Lesbians and Gays support the miners banner

The British filmmaker, 48, added that he “didn’t want to preach to the converted” but instead hopes to “find a mainstream audience and broaden people’s minds… I think someone in the marketing department in the US used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience.”.

“It’s clumsily done but I understand it and it’s a valid instinct,” he continued, describing “the nature of marketing” as “over-simplification [and] reductive”.

CBS Films is reportedly “looking into” why gay references were removed from the US DVD cover but points out that its website still carries the original synopsis.The distribution agency has also since tweeted a Los Angeles Times review of Pride, explicitly mentioning its theme of “gay and lesbian support for striking Welsh miners in the Eighties”.

The DVD was released by Sony Pictures and CBS Films in the US on 23 December and will reach UK stores in March.