Russian govt invokes anti-gay law against TV channel for airing French film with 3-some

The Russian government warned a popular Russian TV channel today that it was violating Russia’s draconian new anti-gay “propaganda” law by showing an award-winning French film that includes a few same-sex love scenes, including at least one three-some.  The government reportedly told the channel that “the film contains ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.’”

The film is called “Les Chansons d’Amour,” aka “Love Songs,” and it was selected as one of twenty films for the main competition at Cannes in 2007, and won an award in 2008.

The Hollywood Reporter says that this is the first time that a television channel has been threatened with the anti-gay law.

les-chansons-d'amour

Russian President Vladimir Putin, back in his KGB days. Putin went on to run the domestic follow-on to the KGB.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, back in his KGB days. Putin went on to run the domestic follow-on to the KGB.

Ironically, Russian President Vladimir Putin just penned an op ed in the New York Times claiming that Russia was a big fan of both international law and the notion that “God created us equal.”

Of course, as I note in my earlier article, Vladimir Putin is only a fan of international law and equality when it comes to protecting his genocidal mass-murdering dictatorial client states.  When it comes to gay and trans Russians – or the more general notions of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or human rights – Putin’s NYT op ed is followed by an asterisked “never mind.”

In fact, the anti-gay law that Putin’s government is now using to threaten the TV station is itself a violation of international law:

Russia has recently received criticism from around the world and across the international community for enacting a law that bans the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. Under the Russian statute, it is a criminal act to hold any sort of public demonstration in favour of gay rights, speak in defense of gay rights or distribute material related to gay rights, or to state that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships.

International human rights organisations and the governments of developed democracies have condemned the Russian law. The United Nations and European regional institutions have called for it to be repealed, making clear that the Russian law in question as well as other infringements of LGBT rights in the country are a direct violation of international human rights law, including the right of children to receive proper information, and of Russia’s international obligations.

The Council of Europe has called on Russia to protect LGBT rights fully, the European Court of Human Rights has fined Russia for infringements of LGBT rights, and the UN Human Rights Committee has ruled that the Russian gay “propaganda ban” in question is inadmissible under international law.

Ironically, a now-fallen former gay rights advocate in Russia recently told a Kremlin propaganda network that the anti-gay law would never be used in practice. In the few weeks since he made that incredible comment the law has now been invoked twice, the first time against a 24 year old young man who staged a one-man protest for human rights.

Here’s the official trailer for Les Chanson d’Amour, which interestingly, as an aside, seems to exclude the boy-boy aspects of the story, while having no problem showing the girl-on-girl – though fortunately Chris Geidner found a few additional videos, one of which follow the trailer below:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    My only complaint about the ‘old’ WQED was when I moved to the far eastern part of the state after college and learned the New Jersey PBS stations were showing Doctor Who — a program I never knew existed until a co-worker told me about it.

  • jomicur

    I remember the “old” WQED too, and very fondly. My assessment of what they used to be, back in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, matches yours exactly. But they have morphed into one of the waste-iest bits of the vast wasteland. I swear, the edgiest thing they air now is Sesame Street. And even though the top post there is now filed by an out lesbian, there is virtually NO LGBT programing. Oh yes–and they do one of their damned pledge periods, with even blander programming than usual, every two to three weeks. I can’t remember the last time I did anything but surf past WQED–quickly.

  • goulo

    > the technology required to enforce the blacklist would give the
    government the infrastructure it needs to monitor Russian Internet
    activity on a massive scale, “spying on millions of Russians.”

    Sadly, the US doesn’t have a leg to stand on now, in terms of criticizing other governments for spying on their citizens’ Internet activity. Thanks, Bush and Obama… :/

  • Indigo

    A year from now will make a big difference. The faux-lympics will be over, the money will be safely tucked away in the Caymans, and the pogrom will have run its course. Then Putin can proudly proclaim that just like in Iran, there are no homosexuals in Russia.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yup. This may be working for the home audience, but damn they couldn’t be worse PR people internationally. The Soviets were far better at being evil.

  • emjayay

    I did want to see Splendor in the Grass again for the first time since it came out. On the other hand sometimes they show crappy faded color prints not restored by Criterion or anything. I assume all other movie action has moved to cable, which I don’t have. Between the Brooklyn Public Library and NYPL I can get most stuff, when the hold comes up. I’m picking up the forbidden French film tomorrow. And there are still indie/classic theaters here.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Lawrence Welk reruns.” OMG, PBS is so desperate for copyright free filler they have resorted to Lawrence Welk reruns. Some of them are so old they are sepia toned.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Unfortunately Russia considers rape a traditional sexual relationship.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention his internet censorship:
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-11-12/opinions/35506857_1_russian-airwaves-web-sites-alexei-navalny

    He’s just testing how blindly people will follow him.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    WQED stopped showing movies?! Gah — it was an oasis of culture in a wasteland of three network stations + one UHF station that never managed to stay on the air for more than a few years at a stretch. (At least, that’s how it was for me growing up in the Pgh area during the 60s and 70s.)

    Heck, they were the first to show Monty Python, too.

  • Dan In Houston

    Therer goes any history of the Mormon church

  • jomicur

    Don’t complain. The PBS station here in Pittsburgh shows no movies at all. None. Zero. We used to get a steady diet of classics, foreign films and indies, but that stopped years ago. Now we get a full menu of decades old British sitcoms, bland local chat shows and, believe it or not, Lawrence Welk reruns. Yes, in the corporate mind of WQED Lawrence Welk reruns are “community programming.” The policy, as neat as I can figure, is to never run any program that might possibly upset in any way the wives and mothers of the corporate executives who fund them. So count your blessings. :)

  • emjayay

    Very Jacques Demy-esque.

    Of course, it’s nothing that would be shown on broadcast TV in the US. The PBS station in NYC plays a couple movies most Saturdays – one “classic”, the hottest one of which was Splendor in the Grass, and some usually terrible indie. I like a lot of indies, even like some mumblecore, a lot, but they played and reran one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my entire life this year. I don’t think they like to spend much if anything on the films.

  • chris10858

    I just watched it on YouTube. My French is a bit rusty but I thought it was a sweet and romantic movie about a young guy coming to terms with himself. Too bad the Russians will miss out.

  • goulo

    Ha, great timing that they’d threaten a TV station over showing a “gay propaganda” film at just this moment, showing Putin’s hypocrisy about respect for international law and everyone being equal.

    The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing… like in most governments.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    They don’t pass anti-gay pogrom-enabling laws like that without intending to use them. Time and again, I think we’ve been learning they really are serious.

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