My Little Pony convention shut down by Moscow police over alleged LGBTQ propaganda

Police in Moscow were called to investigate alleged LGBTQ propaganda at a fan event dedicated to the cartoon series My Little Pony, organisers said on Sunday.

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

“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 Sunday. “Two police checks did not uphold these complaints.”

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A still from My Little Pony: The Movie. Photo: Courtesy Lionsgate

They said police initially asked them to close the event a few hours earlier than originally planned, but that organisers decided to close the convention earlier still after hearing unconfirmed reports of more officers heading toward the venue. Both organisers and volunteers were able to leave without incident, they said.

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 subset of adult fans and planned to feature live music performances as well as stalls selling merchandise.

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

Russian film 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.

First Russians jailed over rainbow items after LGBTQ ‘movement’ outlawed

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

The Russian Supreme Court banned what the government called the LGBTQ “movement” in Russia in November 2023, labelling it an extremist organisation. The ruling was part of a crackdown on LGBTQ people in the increasingly conservative country where “traditional family values” have become a cornerstone of Russian 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 prison sentences or fines since the ruling.

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