Police called to investigate ‘LGBT+ propaganda‘ at My Little Pony convention in Moscow

Moscow police were called to investigate apparent ‘LGBT+ propaganda‘ at a fan event dedicated to My Little Pony, organisers said.

The Mi Amore convention was closed by organisers early on Saturday after police arrived at the venue in the Russian capital, but officers were unable to find evidence of illegal activity.

Although it is aimed at children and focused on the magical power of friendship, My Little Pony has previously prompted anxiety in Russia, with some fearing it show could run afoul of the country’s anti-LGBT+ legislation.

Russian movie database Kinopoisk changed its rating for the animated series to an adult-only 18+ in December 2023, local news outlets reported, not long after a Russian court declared the “global LGBTQ+ movement” to be an extremist organisation.

Although no reason was given for the change, viewers speculated that the decision could be linked to the character Rainbow Dash, whose multi-coloured mane and tail are similar to the LGBT+ pride flag. The show also released an episode that featured a same-sex couple in 2019.

Rainbow Dash, whose multi-coloured mane and tail are similar to the LGBT+ pride flag

“The police received a complaint claiming that our event promoted non-traditional relationships and related symbols, adult content for minors, and general horror and darkness,” event organisers wrote on Russian social media site VK.

“Two police checks did not uphold these complaints.”

They said officers initially asked them to close the event a few hours earlier than planned, but organisers decided to close the convention earlier still after hearing unconfirmed reports of more officers heading to the venue.

Organisers and volunteers were able to leave without incident, they added.

Advocate and founder of the Russian LGBT Network rights group Igor Kochetkov, center, and other activists in Russia

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The convention, which features an animated horse with a mane styled in the colours of the Russian flag as its logo, catered to My Little Pony’s adult fans and planned to feature live music as well as stalls selling merchandise.

The Russian Supreme Court banned what the government called the LGBT+ “movement” in Russia in November 2023, labelling it an extremist organisation.

The ruling was part of a crackdown on LGBT+ people in the increasingly conservative country where “traditional family values” have become a cornerstone of President Vladimir Putin’s 24-year rule.

Russian laws prohibit public displays of symbols of extremist organisations, and at least three people who displayed rainbow-coloured items have received jail time or fines since the ruling.

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