Russian officials are investigating after the public commissioner for protecting families accused the company of violating a “gay propaganda” law, according to . The commissioner claimed that some Netflix content with LGBTQIA+ themes was rated suitable for those aged 16 and older. The country’s laws do not allow the distribution of “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among under 18s.
The Interior Ministry is said to be looking into the complaint. If Netflix is deemed to have broken the law, it faces a fine of up to a million rubles ($13,390). More significantly, the service could be temporarily suspended.
A Netflix source told the company didn’t find any LGBT content that was rated 16+ during a review earlier in November. The newspaper also this month that officials may ban 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.
The European Court of Human Rights determined in 2017 that the “propaganda” law, which was enacted in 2013, discriminates against LGBTQIA+ people and violates European treaty rules and the right to freedom of expression. Activists and Western states have also criticized the regulation.
Meanwhile, Russia is taking aim at foreign tech companies at a broader level. This week, it said the likes of Apple, Facebook parent Meta, Google, TikTok, Telegram and Twitter would in the country by the end of the year, if they haven’t already done so.