‘Power Rangers’ has never been shy of its controversies, with various territories either censoring or outright banning the popular kids TV show due to its violence. However, the new movie outing for the Saban super-team has fallen foul of censors in Russia for altogether different reasons.
Multiple outlets report that the film from studio Lionsgate and director Dean Israelite has been given an 18+ rating in Russia after pressure from far-right legislator Vitaly Milonov, because of the presence of a gay character.
Milonov pushed through a Russian law against “homosexual propaganda directed toward minors,” and it would seem ‘Power Rangers’ has contravened this in revealing the Yellow Ranger Trini, portrayed by Becky G, to be in a same-sex relationship.
The film – rated 12A in Britain and PG-13 in the US – had initially been passed by the Russian censorship board as suitable for all audiences aged 16 and over, with the change only being implemented on the day of the film’s release this past Friday.
This comes hot on the heels of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was met with similar controversy in some regions, owing to a very brief “gay moment.” This led to the film being given a 16+ rating in Russia, and initially banned outright in Malaysia.
‘Power Rangers’ is the first mainstream superhero movie to openly declare one of its main characters to be gay – something which David Yost, actor from the original ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ TV series who experienced discrimination and bullying on-set due to his homosexuality, has praised the film for.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Yost says, “they really stepped up to the plate, and I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation…
“The more Hollywood puts lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, questioning, intersex characters in a film or TV show, it helps people understand and see that people are just people… For people that don’t get to experience LGBTQI people in real life, seeing these types of characters on TV or in films helps normalize us to them, which I think is necessary and vital.”
‘Power Rangers’ is in cinemas now.