A Russian official is calling for a ban of Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast after director Bill Condon revealed that the film will feature a gay character.
According to The New York Times, Vitaly V. Milonov — one of the lawmakers behind a distribution ban of “homosexual propaganda” to minors — said in a letter to the Russian Culture Ministry, “In this case, society cannot be silent about what film distributors are offering under the guise of a children’s tale. The obvious, blatant, shameless propaganda of sin, of perverted sexual relations.”
A drive-in theater in rural Alabama also announced that it would not be showing the flick because the character LeFou, who’s Gaston’s loyal sidekick, reportedly dances with another man near the end of the movie.
LeFou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans). (Photo Credit: R/R)
Bill explained the moment as "somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings… It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
The filmmaker has since expressed shock over the public’s reaction to the news. "Oh, god. Can I just tell you? It's all been overblown,” he said in an interview with ScreenCrush. “Because it’s just this — it’s part of just what we had fun with. I love the way it plays pure when people don’t know and it comes as a nice surprise."
The actor who plays LeFou, Josh Gad, also spoke out about the controversy, telling People magazine, “What I would say is that this film is one of inclusiveness. It’s one that has something to offer everyone.”
He added, “There is so much fear out there of that which we don’t understand, that which we don’t know. And you have a character in Gaston who uses his charm offensive to whip other people into a frenzy to go and attack somebody they’ve never met. Somebody that’s different... I think that that theme is as relevant today as it was when Beauty and the Beast was first written 300 years ago.”
The highly-anticipated film opens in US theaters on March 17.