The Russian government has been urged to ban Disney’s recent live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” after it was announced the film would incorporate a portrayal of homosexuality. The Russian controversy is notably reminiscent of that which has appeared in the United States over the film.

Russia has recent history with homosexuality in the law

A complaint had been sent in a letter to the government by Vitaly Milonov to the Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky over the upcoming film's content. According to reports, the letter advises banning the film if "elements of propaganda of homosexuality" were to be found in the film.

As of yet, however, the Ministry of Culture has not decided on a ruling for the film.

The controversy has come out from the film’s director, Bill Condon, claiming that the upcoming film will feature “a nice, exclusively gay moment,” concerning the character of LeFou, the villain Gaston’s minion. Unlike the original film, where the character presumably remains a villain throughout, reportedly the character is redeemed and shown dancing with another man during the happy ending.

The Russian government passed laws in 2013 making what is deemed "gay propaganda" illegal to be spread among minors, which could include films. Laws banning homosexuality had been in play as recently as 1993 and homosexuality had been kept on a government list of psychiatric disorders as recently as 1999.

In the States, there has been criticism on both sides of the argument

Similar controversy occurred over the film within the United States, in which an Alabama cinema announced that it would not release the film over the controversy, which also accused Disney of political propaganda in the inclusion of a gay character.

Likewise, people on social media have reportedly claimed that they would avoid the film, both out of a distaste of what they perceived as Disney incorporating political themes in one of their films and others who disagree with the inclusion of a gay character at all. On the other hand, some who supported the idea of a gay character have complained that it is not enough.

Eliza Thompson of Cosmopolitan in particular, wrote that the film failed by being too subtle in handling the portrayal of a gay character, writing that "you may as well go all in" when you are already risking offending people in the first place, and suggested including a kissing scene between two characters of the same sex. Thompson conceded that doing so would probably have been out of the studio’s hands, and suggested that the hype concerning the inclusion of a gay character was more to blame than the film itself.

In a released statement, Condon himself also said that the issue was “overblown.”

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