The Russian Culture Ministry stated on Tuesday that children under 16 years old will not be allowed to watch the latest Disney production, Beauty and the Beast, because the character of LeFou is openly gay.
It was specified in an email sent to The Associated Press that the 16+ rating came after petitions by ultraconservative lawmaker, Vitaly Milonov, calling for the remake of the 1991 classic animated movie to be banned. According to Milonov, the film spreads “overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale.”
What might come as a shock here in the U.S. isn’t so much in Russia, where, 3 years ago, a federal law banning “gay propaganda” among minors was passed.
While the director of the movie, Bill Condon, tried to tone down the assertion that LeFou was overtly homosexual by arguing that the whole thing has been “overblown“, Josh Gad, who plays the character in question, told People Magazine: “What I would say is that this film is one of inclusiveness.” He added: “It’s one that has something to offer everyone.”
Russia’s decision follows the recent report that a drive-in theatre in Alabama decided not to show Beauty and the Beast as it refused to “compromise on what the Bible teaches.”
Beauty and the Beast, which opens on March 17, will introduce the British actors Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast. Highly anticipated, the movie is already amassing a considerable amount of ticket pre-sales, predicting an opening weekend of $120 million at the box office.