Russian officials are coming under pressure to check if Disney’s new film Beauty and the Beast breaches the country’s law against “gay propaganda”.
One MP described it as “shameless propaganda of sin” and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said action would be taken after the checks.
Under Russia’s 2013 legislation that bans “homosexual propaganda” and has angered human rights activists and the international gay community, the Rusian law suggests that homosexuality – described as “non-traditional sexual relations” – is alien to life in Russia.
Director Bill Condon has spoken of an “exclusively gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast.
It involves LeFou, who is a sidekick of the film’s main antagonist Gaston.
LeFou, played by US actor Josh Gad, tries to come to terms with feelings for Gaston that swing between lust and admiration, as a side-plot to the main story.
The movie is due to be released in Russia on 16 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 is released to see if it complies with the law and to “take measures to totally ban” it if he found “elements of propaganda of homosexuality”.
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,” Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said.
“I will not take my kid to this movie,” Russian actor Pavel Derevyanko told state-run TV Russia 24.
Who knew Alabama and Russia had so much in common.