Russian officials are to consider banning Beauty and the Beast over a gay “moment” which has been described by one MP as a “shameless propaganda of sin”.
The new Disney film might breach Russia’s controversial 2013 law against the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said action would be taken after the film is checked.
The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast has been described by director Bill Condon as featuring an “exclusively gay moment” between LeFou (played by Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans), although he has since added that reports on his quotes have been “overblown”.
Russia’s 2013 legislation has angered human rights activists and the international LGBT community, and describes homosexuality as “non-traditional sexual relations”. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993 and the country finally removed it from a list of psychiatric disorders in 1999.
Beauty and the Beast is due to be released in Russia on 16th March, but Vitaly Milonov, an MP of the governing United Russia party, urged the culture minister to hold a screening of the film before it was released to see if it complied with the law and to “take measures to totally ban” it if he found “elements of propaganda of homosexuality”.
“In this situation, society cannot look on silently at what movie distributors are offering under the guise of a children’s tale – the obvious, barefaced, unscrupulous propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relations,” Milonov said.
His colleague Alexander Sholokhov said that if the scenes violated the law, the film should be banned from cinemas.
“As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law,” Mr Medinsky said.
Films previously banned in Russia include Borat, for poking fun at Moscow’s neighbour and close ally Kazakhstan, and Child 44, which was withdrawn over “distortion of facts and interpretation of events”.