It may be a tale as old as time, but a Russian politician is calling for a ban of the new live action “Beauty and the Beast” film.
Conservative Russian MP Vitaly Milonov called the Disney film a “shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships,” according to a letter he wrote to Russia’s culture minister that was obtained and published by Agence France-Presse.
Milonov reportedly wrote to Russia’s culture minister asking him to take measures to ban the showing of the film.
The MP gained notoriety in 2013 as one of the chief proponents of Russia’s law banning “gay propaganda,” which bans the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual predispositions” that present “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”
The law has been used as a pretext to ban gay pride events in Russia.
Bill Condon, the film’s director, confirmed the film features Disney’s first ever “gay moment” involving the villainous Gaston and his sidekick LeFou.
LeFou, played by Josh Gad, spends much of the film devoted to Gaston and towards the end is seen flirting with the villain and dancing with another male character.
The discussion of a gay moment or character led one Alabama drive-in theatre to cancel plans to show the movie.
“My salvation isn’t about money, it’s not about man, it’s what God wants me to do,” said Carol Laney, the owner of Henagar Drive-In Theatre, who hasn’t yet seen the film.
Despite opposition, the film’s actors say they’re proud of the movie.
“Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn’t like the original … but that makes him more human and makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent,” said Gad at the film’s premiere on Thursday.
Audra McDonald, who plays Madame de Garderobe – an opera singer cursed into a wardrobe, says she’s proud of the moment.
“I think that’s so important because Disney is shining a light on the world that exists,” she said.
Disney says the film will also feature romantic moments between two interracial couples, an on-screen first, and only the second time the studio has done so.