Russia 'to investigate Netflix' after complaint over LGBTQ content

The country's 2013 'gay propaganda law' bans the 'promotion'' of homosexuality to minors.


Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Netflix teen drama 'Elite'

Netflix is facing an investigation after a complainant accused the streamer of breaching Russia's infamous 'gay propaganda law' with its LGBTQ content.

The law, which bans the dissemination of 'propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations' among under-18s in Russia, was introduced in 2013.

The complaint was made by Olga Baranets, Russia's commissioner for protecting families, to the country's Interior Ministry. The department is now investigating.

Baranets' complaint relates to the broadcasting of queer-themed series with a 16+ label on the streamer, according to Reuters.

However, a source close to Netflix today told Attitude the company had found no series and films about the lives of LGBTQs with a 16+ label when it checked earlier this month.

News of the investigation was first reported on Wednesday by Vedomosti, a Russian-language business daily newspaper published in Moscow, and picked up by Reuters on Thursday (25 November).

Vedomosti claimed Netflix could face a 1 million roubles ($13,400) fine or a temporary suspension of its service if found to have violated the law.

Netflix, which has paid streaming memberships in over 190 countries, has scored huge hits in recent years with its LGBTQ-inclusive teen content, including shows like Sex Education and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Russia's 'gay propaganda law', which itself bears a resemblance to Section 28, which ran from 1988 to 2003, is widely considered to have inspired current LGBTQ censorship in countries like Poland and Hungary.

Netflix declined to comment when approached by Attitude.