'Beauty And The Beast' Might Be Banned By Russia For Being 'Gay Propaganda'

Pang Chieh Ho

Backlash over Beauty and the Beast's inclusion of a gay character is apparently not limited to the U.S. According to BBC, Russia is considering banning the new Disney live-action movie to prohibit the spreading of "gay propaganda" among minors.

Beauty and the Beast was originally scheduled to premiere in Russia on March 16. Its fate now seems less certain, as the Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has announced that they will make a formal decision on whether or not the movie would be allowed into Russia after they've seen the movie themselves.

"As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law."

The "objectionable" qualities of Beauty and the Beast was first brought to attention in Russia by lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who appealed to the Culture Minister in a letter that denounced the movie's portrayal of the relationship between Gaston and his lackey LeFou. According to The Daily Beast, Milonov urged the minister to make further investigations to ensure that the Disney live-action movie conformed to Russia's law against "homosexual propaganda." If not, Milonov says, the movie should be banned.

In the U.S., the inclusion of a gay character in a Disney movie has been met with mixed reactions. While some applaud Disney for finally allowing LGBTQIA representation in their movies, others have been far less adulatory. The New York Times has reported that Henagar Drive-In, a drive-in movie theater in Alabama, won't be showing Beauty and the Beast because the movie was, according to the owners, at odds with their religious beliefs.

"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that's what has its payoff at the end, which I don't want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
"Oh God. Can I just tell you? It's all been overblown. Because it's just this, it's part of just what we had fun with. You saw the movie, yeah? You know what I mean. I feel like the kind of thing has been, I wish it were – I love the way it plays pure when people don't know and it comes as a nice surprise."

[Featured Image by Laurie Sparham/Disney Enterprises, Inc.]