Children under 16 can't see 'Beauty and the Beast' in Russia

by

March 09, 2017
This image released by Disney shows Luke Evans as Gaston, left, with Josh Gad as LeFou, in "Beauty and the Beast."

MOSCOW (AP):

Children under age 16 won't be able to go to the new Disney film "Beauty and the Beast" in Russia because it includes a gay character, the Russian Culture Ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that its decision for the 16-plus rating followed petitions by lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, known for his ultraconservative views, petitioned for the live-action film to be banned.

In a letter released Saturday by the RIA Novosti news agency, Milonov protested the screening of a movie that disseminates "overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale."

Milonov, who was elected to the State Duma last year, is a former local lawmaker in St. Petersburg who has built his political career on opposing LGBT rights.

In 2013, Russia passed a federal law banning "gay propaganda" among minors. It was worded vaguely so it can be applied in a wide range of circumstances, for example, making it easy to target gay and lesbian teachers in Russia because they work directly with children.