‘My Little Pony’ Convention Gets Shut Down in Moscow Due to Fears of “LGBTQ+ Propaganda”

MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, (top): Rainbow Dash, (bottom, from left): Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkamena Diane 'Pinkie' Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Spike, (Season 4, ep. 410, aired Jan. 18, 2014).
The Hub/Courtesy: Everett Collection

Whenever people complain about America, my first thought is always: “Try living in Russia!”

For example, this past Sunday, when police were called to Moscow to shut down a convention for fans of the children’s show My Little Pony. Odd as it is to me that there are enough adults in Russia who like this show meant for toddlers to inspire an entire convention (more on that later), it’s not shocking that Russian police would spend their time worrying about it even in the middle of a war. Though technically a democracy, Putin still runs the place, which means modernity will always be lagging.

A Russian existence with open borders is something I’m not entirely familiar with, and is sure to have its challenges. When I was a kid in the USSR, all I got to watch was a cartoon about a chain-smoking wolf chasing a bunny rabbit around called Nu Pogodi — Russian for “I’ll Catch You!” (check it out, it’s amazing). There were only a few channels in the USSR, mostly airing propaganda all day, and the content was heavily monitored even for the small handful of kids’ programs allowed through. But that was before the Internet. Now, the censorship department really has its work cut out for them.

MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, from left, Fluttershy (voice: Andrea Libman), Spike (voice: Cathy Weseluck), Rainbow Dash (voice: Ashleigh Ball), Pinkie Pie (voice: Andrea Libman), Rarity (voice: Tabitha St. Germain), Princess Skystar (voice: Kristin Chenoweth), Applejack (voice: Ashleigh Ball), 2017.

Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection

So why has a show about multi-colored ponies caused Russian officials so much anxiety? Well, that would be the multi-colored part, and possibly this is all due to the addition of Rainbow Dash to the show, which goes against their strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The Russian movie database Kinopoisk changed its rating for the animated series to “18+” last year, after a Russian court declared the “global LGBTQ+ movement” to be an extremist organization. According to reports, at least three people have received jail time or fines since the ruling for displaying rainbow-colored items. (Since it’s Russia, a notoriously cagey country — if you don’t believe me watch Chernobyl — I’d multiply that number by at least ten.)


Hasbro, Inc./Everett Collection


As sad as it is in this modern age to jail anyone for anything regarding free speech or personal beliefs, this is unfortunately just the reality in many parts of the world, and it’s definitely not surprising for a place where you could get banned from college for wearing Levi’s jeans (which were illegal) or anything resembling them as recently as 40 years ago, something that happened to my mother. The Soviet Union was notoriously anti-American influence, and that region of the world has not changed much since the Berlin Wall came down.

However, and I hate to potentially side with Russia on something, but there is this, too: apparently, a whole underbelly of My Little Pony being used as a fetish for some adults exists online (highly recommend not Googling this). Knowing that (and really wish I didn’t know that), it’s possible the real reason behind shutting down an adult convention for My Little Pony might have some legitimacy, considering this is a kids’ show.

Someone will have to ask Putin what the deal is — the whole thing is weird.

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