A BBC star has rejected a lucrative TV deal in Russia after being told he would have to remove a gay character.
Mrs Brown Boys’ creator Brendan O’Carroll was told by censors to change the show or to lose the deal.
The sitcom, starring Irish comedian as his drag persona Agnes, has extremely high viewership despite its low critical rating.
BBC star and Mrs Brown’s Boys creator: ‘No gay, no show.’
Mrs Brown’s son, Rory, was played by actor Rory Cowan but is now played by Eric O’Carroll.
‘It’s is a big country so the fee you’d charge for the licensing is audience-related, so it’s a big audience and it would have been a nice fee,’ he said, according to The Sun.
‘But [they said] “no gay, absolutely no gay”. So I said “no gay, no show”. And that was it.’
While other eastern European countries have raised concerns about licensing deals, these concerns were resolved.
‘Romania threatened [to cut Rory out], but then went ahead with it. What they’ve done [instead] is, the Rory character is the Rory character and he’s still gay, but they never mention that he’s gay. But it’s still Rory,’ he said.
Russia’s gay propaganda law
Russia has banned several products over the years for their LGBTI inclusivity.
Most recently, they banned the Warwick Rowers’ naked calendar after it was revealed sales profited LGBTI charities.
They banned FIFA 17 after it was made possible for players to dress their soccer team in a rainbow kit.
EA Sports did this as part of the Rainbow Laces campaign, an action to try to eradicate homophobia in football.
Russia’s censors also tried to ban Apple after they introduced LGBTI-inclusive emojis. This was swiftly thrown out by a Moscow court.
The ‘gay propaganda’ law has led to many individuals and groups being fined for ‘promoting homosexuality to children’. It also led to the closure of Children 404, an online support group for LGBTI teens.