Russia investigates Netflix after complaint over LGBT content

Russian authorities are investigating streaming giant Netflix after a public commissioner for protecting families accused the streaming company of violating a “gay propaganda” law, according to local reports.

The commissioner claimed that some Netflix content with LGBTQIA+ themes was rated suitable for those aged 16 and older, whilst the country’s laws do not allow the distribution of “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among under 18s.

As such, the Interior Ministry is said to be looking into the complaint and if Netflix is considered to have broken the law, it faces a fine of up to $13,390. Also, the service could be temporarily suspended.

That said, an anonymous source from Netflix stressed that the company didn’t find any LGBT content that was rated 16+ during a review earlier in November.

The report also mentioned that this month, some procedures might take place such as the banning of streaming services from having shows and movies that depict “non-traditional sexual relationships and sexual deviations” in their libraries, including the likes of Fifty Shades of Gray and Billions.

In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the “propaganda” law enacted in 2013 discriminates against LGBTQIA + people and violates European treaty rules and the right to freedom of expression. Activists and Western nations have also criticized regulation.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities are planning to manage the work of big foreign tech companies, by demanding they set up shop within its borders.

As such, the Russian government decided that a group of foreign companies must open physical branches in the country before the end of 2021, otherwise, they will face sanctions and possible injunctions, according to local reports.