It’s no secret we’re super excited for the new live-action adaptation of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast — but Russia doesn’t share our enthusiasm. One of Russia’s most anti-LGBTQ members of parliament, Vitaly Milonov, has threatened to ban the film over the “exclusively gay moment” featuring Josh Gad’s character LeFou.
Russia’s Ministry of Culture, headed by Vladimir Medinsky, will watch the film to see if the scene violates the 2013 law banning the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors.
While Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon claims the news of the gay scene has been “overblown,” Russia’s political leadership has shown itself to be virulently homophobic. (In fact, even Russian Siri isn’t a fan of gay people.)
While the Ministry of Culture hasn’t made a decision yet — they haven’t received a copy with the distribution paperwork — a theater in Alabama has already decided not to show the film.
Milonov has a history of speaking out against the LGBTQ community. Previoulsy, he threatened to arrest gay athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also badmouthed Apple’s openly-gay CEO Tim Cook, saying that working with him could bring “the Ebola virus, AIDS [and] gonorrhea”.
If that weren’t enough, Milonov has also spoken out against Jews and bicyclists. He may be a closet They Might Be Giants fan, though — last year, he officially requested all Russian media and maps refer to Istanbul by its historical name, Constantinople.
On the other hand, while previously skittish around LGBTQ issues, lately Disney has begun to embrace the queer community. Recently, Star vs. the Forces of Evil just showed their first same-sex kiss. Though, of course, there’s always been Disney characters that have been easy to read as queer.