"Bruno" Banned in Ukraine For "Homosexual Perversion" and "Unjustified Display of Genitalia"

News & Politics

The BBC had this news report last Thursday, indicating that the movie Bruno has been banned in Ukraine* by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Now, it does seem like rather a good thing, in some ways. A movie based entirely on exploiting homophobia for the enjoyment of bigots being banned, could be worse, yeah?

Until you dig into the reasons why.

First, the "good" reason. Cohen's previous movie, Borat, was also banned in Ukraine, for being offensive to their Kazakh allies and neighbors -- and rightly so. So Ukrainian officials were always going to be looking at this one closely.

But after that, the reasoning is ... a little problematic to progressives.

Just to avoid any suggestion that I'm misinterpreting the Ministry's directive, I present a translation I've done myself of the text found here. Bruno, they said:

содержит художественно неоправданную демонстрацию половых органов и отношений, гомосексуальных половых актов в откровенно натуралистической форме, показ гомосексуальных извращений, ненормативную лексику, проявления садизма, антисоциального поведения, что может нанести вред моральному воспитанию граждан.

My translation thereof:

(the film) contains artistically unjustified display of genitalia, as well as homosexual sex acts in a frankly naturalistic manner, showing homosexual perversion, abusive language, sadism and anti-social behavior that may harm the moral education of citizens.

So it's not the homophobia, or the fact that it might offend or endanger Ukrainian gay people, but the fact that homosexual acts and male genitalia are inherently threatening to the moral fiber of Ukrainians generally.

And y'know ... I've gotta wonder whether they'd be so quick to ban it if it were women's genitals or lesbian sex acts being shown. It seems likely they'd hide behind the "artistically justified" thing.

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