Russian ministers are urging government officials to ban Disney’s new live action remake of Beauty and the Beast if it breaches the country’s controversial “gay propaganda” law.
Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky is facing mounting pressure to assess whether the film, which contains Disney’s first ever overtly gay character and love scene, violates a law prohibiting children from material “advocating for a denial of traditional family values”.
One Russian MP, Vitaly Milonov, of the United Russia party, described the film as “shameless propaganda of sin”, and asked Mr Medinsky to “take measures to totally ban” the film if it contains “elements of propaganda of homosexuality,” according to the BBC.
His colleague, Alexander Sholokhov, said that if the scenes violated the law, the film should be banned from cinemas, while Russian actor Pavel Derevyanko told state-run TV Russia 24: “I will not take my kid to this movie.”
Following the outcry, Mr Medinsky reportedly pledged to consider whether it breached the law, saying: “As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law.”
Beauty and the Beast, a live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animation set to be released on 16 March, contains what the film’s director described as an “exclusively gay moment”. The scene involves male character LeFou, who in a side-plot to the main story tries to come to terms with his feelings for the film's male antagonist, Gaston.
Mr Milonov argued the scene may be in breach of Russian legislation passed in 2013, which prohibits the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors. The law, which angers human rights activists and the international LGBT community, suggests homosexuality is alien to life in Russia.
It is not the first time the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast has provoked anger over its inclusion of a gay character.
Earlier this week, a cinema in Alabama cancelled screenings of the film, saying they would only show “family-oriented films” so that its customers were “free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language”.