Russia gives Beauty and Beast 16+ rating due to 'gay moment'

Bethany Minelle, News Reporter

Russia has awarded the Disney live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast a 16+ age certificate due to its "gay moment".

Ultra-conservative lawmakers previously tried to ban the film, citing the controversial Russian law that makes it illegal to disseminate "gay propaganda" to minors.

The film had previously been announced as 6+ in its Russian promotional campaign.

In a letter to the Russian culture minister, anti-gay politician Vitaly Milonov called the Disney film "blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships".

Following the 16+ ruling he said he was pleased with the ruling which he believed aimed to impose "new European standards of tolerance so (children) think this is all the norm".

The outrage has been caused by what the film's director, Bill Condon, described as Disney's "first exclusively gay moment".

In the re-make, the manservant character of LeFou exhibits attraction towards his master, Gaston.

Condon told website ScreenCrush: "LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston."

He also voiced his frustration at the "overblown" reaction to the openly gay character.

At the initial furore over the "gay moment" actor Josh Gad, who plays LeFou, tweeted: "Beyond proud of this."

Homosexuality was banned in Russia until 1993 and was only removed from a list of psychiatric disorders in the country in 1999.

Disney said they would not comment on the rating.

Beauty and the Beast - which stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast - is released in UK cinemas on 17 March.

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