Netflix under investigation in Russia for violating “gay propaganda” law

A complaint has been filed against Netflix in Russia for offering LGBTQ+ content, treated as "deviant content", to minors under the age of 18.

Netflix Russia
Image: Alan Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

The Commissioner for the Protection of the Family, Olga Baranets, has made an official complaint about the age ratings of LGBTQ+ content on Netflix in Russia.

In Russia, LGBTQ+ content is treated as propaganda and is outlawed under article 6.2.1 of the 2013 anti-propaganda law signed in by Vladimir Putin which prohibits:

“promoting non-traditional sexual relations to minors by spreading information aimed at instilling in minors non-traditional sexual arrangements, the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations and/or a distorted view that society places an equal value on traditional and non-traditional sexual relations or propagating information on nontraditional sexual relations making them appear interesting”.

Baranets’ complaint was filed with the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, who will now ultimately determine whether or not Netflix is to be found guilty.

The complaint specifically concerns labelling LGBTQ+ content as suitable for 16+ as opposed to the 18+ that Russian law dictates.

Netflix has 30 days to respond to the inquiry, but an anonymous source close to Netflix told Vedomosti that the streaming platform does not have LGBTQ+ content under the 16+ age rating, as determined by an internal review. If found guilty, Netflix could face fines of up to 1 million rubles, the equivalent of €12,000. Netflix could also potentially be suspended throughout Russia.

Those who violate the controversial anti-propaganda law typically face hefty fines or up to 15 years in prison.

This development follows major backlash over Netflix playing host to Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer, in which he monologues his transphobic views.

Since the airing of the standup comic’s special, Netflix employees have staged a walkout and even resigned due to the company’s poor response to concerns of Trans staff and allies. Subscribers also protested the streaming service by staying off Netflix on the day of the staff walkout, or even ending their subscriptions and posting under the hashtag, #CancelNetflix.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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