Beauty and the Beast received backlash for the first openly gay moment in a Disney movie ever and now the Russian Culture Ministry has banned the movie for children under the age of 16.
The ministry has allowed the screening of the film, but with a 16 plus rating, which means children under the age of 16 will not be able to watch the live-action Beauty and the Beast. The decision to grant 16 plus rating was taken after lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, known for his ultraconservative views, petitioned to ban the screening of the movie, the ministry told The Associated Press in an emailed statement.
In a letter released by the RIA Novosti news agency, Milonov demanded to ban the screening of Emma Watson-starrer that publicises "overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion under the guise of a fairy tale."
Not only Milonov, an Alabama drive-in theatre has also cancelled the film's shows because of the scene.
Beauty and the Beast has a brief gay scene featuring Josh Gad, who plays the character of LeFou the sidekick to the villain Gaston (played by Luke Evans). According to the director Bill Condon, LeFou is confused about his sexuality.
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon said. "He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that's what has its payoff at the end, which I don't want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
Beauty and the Beast, starring Watson, releases on March 17 in 4,000 theatres nationwide.