“Power Rangers,” the action movie based off a children’s television show about five teens with attitude who are chosen to defend the Earth against a nefarious space witch, has received a film rating in Russia that only permits moviegoers over the age of 18 to attend screenings, the equivalent to an NC-17 rating in the United States. The rating is the result of a Russian law that does not permit media depicting homosexuality. In the film, Rebbeca Marie Gomez, better known by her stage name Becky G, plays the yellow ranger, Trini, who is an LGBTQ character.
Russian theaters were informed on Friday by the film’s distributor that the movie’s rating had been upped from 16+ to 18+. The last-minute ratings change was prompted by Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov, a Russian politician and member of the country’s State Duma. Milonov, who is a member of the United Russia party, called for “Power Rangers” to be banned on a conservative Russian television network just before the film’s release. The film was not banned, but its rating was raised in response.
Milonov has a long history of homophobic rhetoric and lawmaking. The politician was one of the main sponsors of the 2013 bill that banned “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” that is “[aimed] at causing minors to form non-traditional sexual predispositions, notions of attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relationships, distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships, or imposing information about non-traditional sexual relationships which raises interest in such relationships.” Russian citizens found to be violation of the law have faced both fines and arrest.
Prior to the Sochi Olympics in 2013, Milonov claimed that any athletes promoting homosexuality could face legal repercussions. In 2014, in response to Apple CEO Tim Cook revealing that he was gay, Milonov responded with: “What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there.”
“Power Rangers” is the most recent film to butt up against the Russian law. Earlier this month, Milonov urged Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s Culture Minister, to screen the Disney film “Beauty and the Beast” before its release, and to potentially ban the movie if he found it to be in violation of the law. The film was given a 16+ rating and has since gone on to earn $490 million worldwide.
Currently in theaters, “Power Rangers” is a production of Lionsgate directed by Dean Israelite and starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks.
(via The Wrap)