The Walt Disney Company’s latest live-action film will lose profits in a foreign market.
Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has insisted that the government ban the Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” remake. According to him, the remake of the classic labeled “a blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships.” Milonov wrote this in a letter to Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, and a state-run news agency reporter Ria Novsti reported this interaction.
Milonov said the movie should not be shown in Russia if the ministry found “elements of propaganda of homosexuality.” In 2013, Russia’s government passed legislation prohibiting the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors. The law describes homosexuality as “non-traditional sexual relations,” thus prohibiting public discussion of gay rights and relationship in any setting where a child might overhear it.
This sparked criticism throughout the LGBTQ+ community internationally and human rights groups. In 1933, laws banning homosexuality in Russia were revoked following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 1999, homosexuality was taken off the list of psychiatric disorders in Russia.
According to CNN, Milonov was the “driving force behind Russia’s anti-gay laws.” Milonov said the LGBTQ community is “sick” and “crazy.” He is also a supporter of a new Russian law which decriminalizes some forms of domestic violence.
As of now, the Ministry of Culture has not given their final ruling on the airing of the film.
“Beauty and the Beast” is still scheduled to debut in Russia on March 16.
However, the Ministry of Culture is not the only group refusing to show the Emma Watson remake: A drive-in theater in Alabama has also released a statement.
“It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” the Henagar Drive-In Theatre wrote on Facebook.
“We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches,” the theater said. “We will continue to show family-oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
In response to the Alabama theater’s decision, ”Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon told USA TODAY that outcry over the first gay character in a Disney movie is “overblown.”
“My message is: This is a movie for everyone,” Condon said. “I’m sad about that theater but there are 4,000 theaters showing the movie. I hope everybody moves past that and just goes to take pleasure in what we made.”
Condon says the character of LeFou, portrayed Josh Gad, has an “exclusively gay moment” in the film.
According to CNN, at the end of the film, LeFou finds himself paired with another man during a dance. The pair freeze, surprised in their embrace. The audience laughs, and the camera cuts away. That’s it – the moment is over in seconds.
Some consumers say Disney has a negative influence on children.
A 2016 study from Brigham Young University found that “engaging with Disney princess culture could make young children more susceptible to gender stereotypes.”
Family-life professor Sarah Coyne studied 198 preschoolers’ responses Disney princess movies, toys and merchandise.
Their behavior was assessed and documented by reports from parents and teachers.
The children were even asked to rank their favorite toys among stereotypical “girl” options such as dolls and stereotypical “boy” options such as toy sets. Gender neutral options such as puzzles were also included in the study.
The study suggested that the influence of Disney could be positive for boys and that it could possibly encourage better body esteem and being more helpful.
It also suggested Disney princesses could be damaging to girls by making them more susceptible to having bad body esteem and less confidence.
Disney said it has “always been inclusive, with stories that reflect acceptance and tolerance and celebrate the differences that make our characters uniquely wonderful in their own way. . . . Disney remains committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children.”