Russia Considers 'Beauty and the Beast' Ban Over Gay Character

Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Josh Gad (left) and Luke Evans in 'Beauty and the Beast'

The live-action Disney film may breach the country's law against "propaganda of homosexuality," according to politician Vitaly Milonov.

Russia is considering banning Disney's Beauty and the Beast from screening in the country, BBC News reported Saturday.

The film, which features a gay character (LeFou) played by Josh Gad, may breach a Russian law prohibiting homosexual propaganda directed toward minors. Director Bill Condon previously revealed to Attitude that the live-action adaptation has "a nice, exclusively gay moment" between LeFou and Gaston (played by Luke Evans).

Vitaly Milonov, a Russian politician and member of the United Russia party, is reportedly urging culture minister Vladimir Medinsky to screen the film to make sure it doesn't showcase elements of gay propaganda and to call for a total ban if the scene in question violates the law.

"As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law," Medinsky told BBC.

The potential ban comes after a drive-in theater in Alabama announced it won't be screening the film because of LeFou's homosexual storyline.

"When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine," the business said in a statement posted to Facebook. "If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it."

Gad recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the controversy at the film's Los Angeles premiere, saying LeFou's questioning of his sexuality is "an element that added a really beautiful complexity to his character."

He added, "There's also a lovely moment at the end of the film that I think I'll let speak for itself. Like many of the additions to this movie, I think it's a beautiful, subtle moment that does its job and is left alone."

Beauty and the Beast is slated to be released March 16 in Russia.

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