Antigay Russian politician Vitaly Milonov, father of the nation’s “gay propaganda” law and critic of Stephen Fry, Tim Cook, and Madonna, has a new target in his sights — the popular and LGBT-inclusive HBO series Game of Thrones.
Milonov, a city official in St. Petersburg, has asked the nation’s Ministry of Culture to ban — or at least label as harmful — TV shows and other creative works that contain what he considers deviant Western values, and Game of Thrones tops his list, Radio Free Europe reports.
While some observers have recently denounced the program for its graphic portrayals of violence against women, that’s not Milonov’s problem with it. “Every one in 10 characters is a sexual deviant,” he said, according to a Radio Free Europe translation of Russian newspaper Isvestia. “It is precisely through these kinds of works and their popularization in our conscious that a new understanding is being laid down that certain things and phenomena are normal.”
Game of Thrones is extremely popular in Russia, and parents have begun naming their children after the characters.
Milonov also objected to the fact that other TV shows, films, and books include positive depictions of LGBT people, but he said he enjoyed the 1990s MTV animated series Beavis and Butt-Head. “I grew up when Beavis and Butt-Head laughed at homosexuals and it was considered funny,” he said. (Actually, the characters were not known for that, Radio Free Europe points out.)
Milonov wants the Ministry of Culture to devise a system in which creative works will receive either a stamp of approval or a designation as harmful. Most Western works, he said, would fall into the latter category.
The politician is a member of St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly, which governs the city. He authored the city’s law against “gay propaganda” — essentially, any positive discussion of LGBT people or issues in a venue accessible to minors — which was adopted in 2012 and became the model for the national law, enacted in 2013.
Over the years, he has called gay British actor and activist Stephen Fry a “bringer of evil,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook should be barred from Russia for life as a health threat, and threatened Madonna with prosecution if she mentioned the propaganda law while performing in Russia. This year he objected when a lesbian couple who took a selfie on a plane included him in background of the photo. He said he might try to close a St. Petersburg nightclub owned by one of the women; he claimed he was joking, but the club was raided shortly thereafter.