Russian police shut down My Little Pony convention for promoting ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’

Federal agents have allegedly shut down a My Little Pony convention in Moscow, Russia, accusing the animated programme of promoting ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’, reports news site The Insider.

According to The Insider, the raid was conducted to break up an event called “Mi Amore Fest,” which had been organised by fans of the show. It’s reported that, on flyers for the event, organisers changed the colour of one character’s rainbow mane to the Russian flag colours to avoid persecution – but it wasn’t successful.

People who had been at the event are reported to have posted on a message board, writing: “Apparently, you won’t be able to get to the festival anymore. While we were drinking coffee, a squad arrived and dispersed everyone. They wrote a statement for LGBT propaganda. Well, let’s go home.” 

On November 30, 2023, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that the ‘international public LGBTQ+ movement’ (which does not exist) is an extremist group and also declared LGBTQ+ activism illegal.

Shortly afterwards, on the night of December 1, the Telegram channel Sota reported that police had raided three nightclubs in Moscow that were hosting events for LGBTQ+ people in the city.

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    “In the middle of the party, the music stopped and [police] started coming into the rooms”, Russian and English language news website Meduza quoted a club-goer saying at the time. “There were also people from other countries at the party. At the exit, they took pictures of people’s passports without permission.”

    Shortly after the raids, Meduza reported that the Yandex-owned movie database Kinopoisk added an 18+ symbol next to the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

    Yandex is a Russian multinational technology company providing Internet-related products and services, including an Internet search engine called Yandex. Sota speculated that the move by the company could have been a response to the fact that the name of one of the show’s main characters is Rainbow Dash.

    The series has also featured LGBTQ+ characters. A well-received 2017 episode called “The Last Crusade” was the first Friendship Is Magic episode to feature a same-sex couple: Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty.

    In 2017, lesbian My Little Pony characters Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty took care of Scootaloo. (Twitter)

    Writers Nicole Dubuc, Josh Haber and Michael Vogel came up with the idea to put the lesbian pony couple onscreen together, according to Buzzfeed News.

    Vogel, who is gay, said, “My Little Pony has always been about friendship and accepting people (or ponies) that are different from you. So it just felt like something important to do.”