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Russia won't let kids see the 'Beauty and the Beast' remake because of a gay character


UPDATE March 8, 10:22 a.m. EST:

Russia, after flirting with banning the "Beauty and the Beast" remake outright, instead gave it a rating of 16+, meaning children cannot see the movie because of its gay character, The Associated Press reports.

Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov said the movie spreads "overt and shameless propaganda of sin and sexual perversion." In 2013, Russia banned "gay propaganda" among minors, sparking widespread controversy.

The live-action remake features Josh Gad as a gay LeFou. 

ORIGINAL STORY: A few days after the director of Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" announced that the movie will feature a gay character, a drive-in movie theater in rural northeastern Alabama said it will not show the production, the New York Times reported. 

 “We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches,” the Carol Laney, the owner of Henagar Drive-In, said in a now deleted Facebook post. “You can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”

This image released by Disney shows Josh Gad as Le Fou, left, and Luke Evans as Gaston in a scene from, "Beauty and the Beast," opening nationwide on March 17. (Laurie Sparham/Disney via AP)

Josh Gad portrays LeFou as Disney’s first openly gay character in "Beauty and the Beast."

Laney, who owns the theater with her husband, said that her opposition to the film "is by no means... sending a message of hatred or bigotry." 

However, we are Christians first and foremost and must adhere to our Bible and to our Christianity," she added.

According to director Bill Condon, the gay moment is subtle but " pretty wonderful." 

Interestingly, senior news editor Jennifer Peros of "Entertainment Tonight" said the moment wasn't originally written in the script, but it was the way that Josh had performed the scene that's getting a lot of people to speculate.

Beauty and the Beast US Official Trailer

WATCH | The "Beauty and the Beast" trailer

Despite the ambiguity of LeFou's sexuality, Laney said she respects the choice of others who choose to screen the movie, and hopes the respect is reciprocated.

"However, we hope that you respect our choice not to play it at our drive-in,” Laney said. 

It's uncertain whether Disney ever intended to show the film there or whether the drive-in was acting prematurely.  

Disney declined to comment.

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