Russia May Ban ‘Beauty and the Beast’ As ‘Gay Propaganda’

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In a refreshing change of pace, international tensions with Russia have increased due to something other than statements issued from the executive branch of the federal government. The latest subject of global controversy is none other than Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live-action remounting of the classic animated fantasy-romance. And rest assured, it’s not the sacrilege of revising the high-water mark of Disney’s ’90s run that the Russkies are ticked off about. Not since the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy vehicle The Interview nearly set off World War III with North Korea has Hollywood come this close to igniting a powder keg, and all because LeFou has come out of the closet.

The revelation that LeFou (portrayed in the film by the seemingly inescapable Josh Gad) will be more upfront about his heretofore sublimated crush on Gaston has rubbed some Russian culture officials the same way, and the nation’s top brass have reportedly begun considering a ban. Following the example of the Alabama movie theater that denied children the chance to see a so-called ‘gay moment’ that the filmmaker himself told ScreenCrush has been blown way out of proportion, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has been reported by the BBC as reviewing the film’s compliance with national ordinances against ‘gay propaganda’ prior to the March 16 release.

Because the allusion to LeFou’s tortured homosexuality is not nearly as overt as some reactionaries have made it out to be, it could very well past muster with Russia’s self-appointed moral watchdogs. But even if not, there has to be some sort of street cred in that. For the rest of his natural life, Josh Gad will be able to joke at cocktail parties, “Well, I’m not gay, but I’m apparently gay enough to be outlawed in Russia!”

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