The Russian government is coming under pressure to ban Disney’s live-action movie Beauty and the Beast for allegedly contravening a 2013 law that prohibits “gay propaganda” aimed at children.
In Bill Condon’s film, LeFou (Josh Gad) has a crush on Gaston (Luke Evans). Condon told Attitude magazine that LeFou’s role is groundbreaking.
Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker with the governing United Russia party, has urged Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to view the movie before its March 16 release to check if it complies with the Russian law, and to ban it if he finds “elements of propaganda of homosexuality”, the BBC reported on Saturday.
Medinsky responded by saying: “As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law.”
Gad’s character has sparked controversy in the US as well. A movie theatre in Alabama announced earlier this week that it would not screen Beauty and the Beast because of the inclusion of a gay character.
While speaking to Variety about being Disney’s first openly gay character, Gad said: “As subtle as it is, I do think it’s going to be effective and I do think it’s important.”