Russia is considering banning the upcoming release of Disney's Beauty and the Beast due to the appearance of the company's first openly gay movie character. According to BBC News, politician Vitaly Milonov has asked Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to hold a screening of the movie to determine whether it violate's the country's messed up gay propaganda laws, calling the film "shameless propaganda of sin." In the movie, Josh Gad's character LeFou is said to have a small but significant storyline exploring his sexuality, with the character ultimately being confirmed to be gay on screen. The film stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, is directed by Bill Condon, and is produced by Moose and Squirrel, which is probably what tipped the Russians off.
Shockingly, Gad's role will mark the first time a character was openly gay in a Disney movie, though of course it has been hinted at before. But hey, on the bright side, with Russia considering banning the movie, Disney can be proud to know that though it took them until 2017 to feature an openly gay character in a movie, there's a whole country's government out there further behind the times when they are. Then again, the movie is also said to feature Disney's first on-screen interracial kiss, according to the BBC, so maybe it's more like a tie. But at least Disney is making progress.
If the film runs into trouble, perhaps Disney can ask Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who is good friends with President Donald Trump, to ask Trump to contact his other good friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and put in a good word for them. Beauty and the Beast hits theaters in the US, and, unless it's banned, in Russia on March 16.