Russian officials pressured to ban Beauty and the Beast over gay content
There’s a lot of anticipation for the upcoming live-action version of Beauty and the Beast considering how successful similar remakes like Cinderella and The Jungle Book have been. While it’s sure to do well, at least at the box office, it’s already a groundbreaking film of sorts. The film will feature Disney’s first ever gay character and love scene. Director Bill Condon has spoken of an ‘exclusively gay moment’ in the film involving LeFou, played by Josh Gad, who’s the sidekick of the antagonist Gaston. However, although many will consider this a very progressive aspect of the movie, there are some people, such as a few Russian officials, who see it differently.
In Russia, there is a law against ‘gay propaganda’ that specifically prohibits the spreading of such ‘propaganda’ among minors. The 2013 legislation describes homosexuality as ‘non-traditional sexual relations’, an idea that’s angered human rights activists and the international gay community.
Officials, including Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, are being pressured to check if Beauty and the Beast breaches the country’s law against ‘gay propaganda’. Medinsky responded to pressure by saying, “As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law.”
One of the film’s biggest opponents is Vitaly Milonov, and MP of the governing United Russia party, who calls the gay content ‘shameless propaganda of sin’. He’s urged Medinsky to hold a screening of the film before it’s released to see if it complies with the law and to “take measures to totally ban” it if he finds “elements of propaganda of homosexuality.”
Milonov isn’t the only opponent. His colleague Alexander Sholokhov said that if the scenes violated the law, the film should be banned from cinemas. Additionally, Russian actor Pavel Derevyanko told state-run TV Russia 24, “I will not take my kid to this movie.”
The movie is set to be released in Russia on March 16, though considering the backlash from these officials, that seems rather unlikely.