You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

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

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/7/2017
This image released by Disney shows Luke Evans as Gaston, left, with Josh Gad as LeFou, in "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney shows Luke Evans as Gaston, left, with Josh Gad as LeFou, in "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP)

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.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, May 7, 2016, Vitaly Milonov, a member of the city legislature and outspoken opponent of LGBT rights, speaks to the Associated Press in St. Petersburg, Russia. Milonov petitioned to have Disney's new "Beauty and the Beast" movie banned, but Russia's Culture Ministry on Tuesday March 7, 2017, has given the green light to the movie release in Russia, despite protests over a gay character. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file) © The Associated Press FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, May 7, 2016, Vitaly Milonov, a member of the city legislature and outspoken opponent of LGBT rights, speaks to the Associated Press in St. Petersburg, Russia. Milonov petitioned to have Disney's new "Beauty and the Beast" movie banned, but Russia's Culture Ministry on Tuesday March 7, 2017, has given the green light to the movie release in Russia, despite protests over a gay character. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file)

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.

This image released by Disney shows Emma Watson as Belle, right, and Kevin Kline as Maurice in a scene from "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney shows Emma Watson as Belle, right, and Kevin Kline as Maurice in a scene from "Beauty and the Beast." (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP)

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."

This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast, left, and Emma Watson as Belle in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Disney shows Dan Stevens as The Beast, left, and Emma Watson as Belle in a live-action adaptation of the animated classic "Beauty and the Beast." (Disney via AP)

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.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, May 7, 2016, Vitaly Milonov, a member of the city legislature and outspoken opponent of LGBT rights, speaks to the Associated Press in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russia's Culture Ministry on Tuesday March 7, 2017, has given the green light to the release of Disney's new "Beauty and the Beast" movie despite protests over a gay character. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file) © The Associated Press FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, May 7, 2016, Vitaly Milonov, a member of the city legislature and outspoken opponent of LGBT rights, speaks to the Associated Press in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russia's Culture Ministry on Tuesday March 7, 2017, has given the green light to the release of Disney's new "Beauty and the Beast" movie despite protests over a gay character. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, file)

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. The law was modeled on a St. Petersburg bill that Milonov authored a year earlier

The film's brief scene in question involves the character of LeFou (Josh Gad), the timid and lovable sidekick to the preening villain Gaston (Luke Evans).

At the film's March 2 premiere in Los Angeles, director Bill Condon suggested that describing LeFou as Disney's first gay character went too far.

"I keep saying it's more like the first gay moment," he said. "Because I think it's a very fluid character." The director added: "You can't help but wonder in his adoration of Gaston ... (is there) something more going on?"

One Alabama drive-in theater has canceled plans to show the film, which opens next week and stars Emma Watson as Belle.

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon