Beauty and the Beast captured headlines last week when it was announced that the film will have a gay scene, but the mention of it caused concern for one Russian politician, who labeled the film "propaganda," reports CNN.
Vitaly Milonov authored a letter to the Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, calling the live-action remake of the Disney classic "a blatant, shameless propaganda of sin and perverted sexual relationships." Russia passed an anti-LGBT "propaganda" law in 2013 that provides for fines and potential jail time for any individual, media outlet, organization, or government official found guilty of promoting an LGBT identity in public.
Milonov also wrote that the film should not be screened in Russia if the culture minister finds "elements of propaganda of homosexuality," CNN reports. The minister has yet to respond to Milonov's letter. The film is scheduled to open in theaters in Russia March 16, unless the nation opts to ban it. Bill Condon, the director of the live-action remake of the 1991 animated film, said in an interview that LeFou, a character who plays a sidekick to villain Gaston, experiences an "exclusively gay moment" in the movie, according to CNN.
The "exclusively gay moment" Condon was referring to lasts less than a second. It happens at the end of the film during a dance when people are changing partners. During an exchange, LeFou gets paired with a same-sex partner. The two men then experience a moment of surprise at being paired. And then the scene ends.
Condon, a gay man who won an Oscar for his Gods and Monsters screenplay, about gay film director James Whale, also addressed the matter at a press conference Sunday, People reports. Beauty and the Beast, he said, is "about looking closer, going deeper, accepting people for who they really are. ... And in a very Disney way, we are including everybody. I think this is for everybody, and on the screen we'll see everybody. And that was important to me."