According to USA Today, the decision of Walt Disney Pictures to include a gay character in the live-action remake of its 1991 animated hit Beauty and the Beast is prompting a backlash not only within the United States, but inside of Russia, as well.
Reportedly, a drive-in theater in Henagar, Ala. has scrapped plans to show the film, and, also, the Russian government is presently weighing an outright ban of the film in that country.
In this latest version of the tale, the character of LeFou, who is the sidekick of Gaston, the principal antagonist in the story, is portrayed as gay. It is the first time that an openly homosexual character has appeared in a Disney film.
At the Henagar Drive-In Theatre’s Facebook Page – which has since become unavailable – the following unsigned post was entered there on Thursday:
“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches.”
For its part, Russia appears to be none too pleased with the new character twist, either. The film is scheduled to be released in that country on March 16, but, in reporting by the BBC, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has indicated that his department would screen the film prior to that date to see if the content violates a Russian law making it illegal to disseminate “gay propaganda” to minors.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large