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Russia May Ban Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Over Gay Character

The Russian government is coming 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). Condon told Attitude magazine that LeFou’s role is groundbreaking.

“It’s somebody who’s just realizing 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.”

Gad spoke to Variety about being Disney’s first openly gay character during film’s L.A. premiere. “As subtle as it is, I do think it’s going to be effective and I do think it’s important,” he said.

Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker 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 Saturday.

“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.

Gad’s character has sparked controversy in the U.S. as well. A movie theater in Alabama announced earlier this week that it would not screen “Beauty and the Beast” because of the inclusion of a gay character. “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it,” a statement on the theater’s Facebook page read.

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