THE Russian government is under pressure to ban Disney's live-action movie Beauty and the Beast for allegedly contravening a 2013 law that prohibits "gay propaganda" aimed at children.
In Bill Condon's film, LeFou (Josh Gad) has a crush on Gaston (Luke Evans).
"As subtle as it is, I do think it's going to be effective and I do think it's important," Gad told Variety about being Disney's first openly gay character during the film's LA premiere.
"It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it," he said.
"And that's what has its pay-off at the end, which I don't want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
But Vitaly Milonov, a politician with the governing United Russia party, has urged culture minister Vladimir Medinsky to view the movie before its March 16 release to check if it complies with the law, and to ban it if he finds "elements of propaganda of homosexuality", the BBC reported.
"As soon as we get a copy of the film with relevant paperwork for distribution, we will consider it according to the law," Medinsky responded.
Russian actor Pavel Derevyanko told state-run TV Russia 24: "I will not take my kid to this movie."
A Russian law prohibits the spreading of "gay propaganda" among minors. The controversial 2013 legislation describes homosexuality as "non-traditional sexual relations".
But Beauty and the Beast is not just making waves in Russia.
A cinema in the US state of Alabama announced earlier this week that it would not screen the live-action remake because of the inclusion of a gay character.
"If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it," Henagar Drive-In Theatre said in a statement on Facebook.
The movie features Emma Watson as Belle, the young girl who falls in love with a beast with a dark secret.
"Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It's about freedom, it's about liberation, it's about equality. I really don't know what my tits have to do with it," she hit back in a BBC interview.
Maturing from Hermione to Belle in @beautyandthebeast is a true coming-of-age story for @EmmaWatson: "I couldn't care less if I won an Oscar or not if the movie didn’t say something that I felt was important for people to hear." Read the full cover story at the link in bio. Photograph by Tim Walker.
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