Russia rates Disney’s ‘Beauty and Beast’ 16+ for ‘gay moment’
Russia on Tuesday said the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast" will be released with an adults only rating after an ultra-conservative lawmaker sought its ban over a "gay moment."
A spokesman for the culture ministry said the “film is coming out with a 16+ age certificate,” RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The film’s director Bill Condon has revealed that it contains Disney’s “first exclusively gay moment”, although some critics have said this was less than overwhelming.
Disney had previously announced the film as a 6+ in its promotional campaign for Russia, where it is due to come out March 16.
Walt Disney Company Russia & CIS confirmed the 16+ age rating in a statement sent to AFP. A spokeswoman said the company would not make any comment.
National lawmaker Vitaly Milonov on Saturday asked Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to check the film for breaches of a controversial law that bans “gay propaganda” to minors.
Milonov was one of the chief architects of the law that President Vladimir Putin signed in 2013 despite a storm of international condemnation.
Milonov said Tuesday he was pleased with the age restriction. He said it aims to impose “new European standards of tolerance so (children) think this is all the norm.”
In his letter to the culture minister, Milonov called the Disney film “blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships.”
He called for it to be banned from cinemas if it was found to contain “elements of propaganda of homosexuality.”
The law bans disseminating information that could interest minors in “non-traditional sexual relationships.” It has been used as a pretext to ban gay pride events.
With outspoken views, Milonov has attacked everything from Facebook to the Eurovision Song Contest and called for the creation of a morality police to fine people who violate “traditional values”.
Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 and only in 1999 lifted its classification as a mental illnesses.