Gay Teen Love Story ‘My Young Prince’ Elicits Epithets from Ukrainian Hate Groups

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A gay teen love story whose teaser trailer was recently screened at a central Kyiv theater by hundreds of fans elicited a flood of hateful messages, together with threats of rape and homicide, on the director’s Instagram.

KP.UA: The film, My Young Prince, which is produced by Alexei Gladushevsky and director Khachatur Vasilyan (they are also co-authors of the script) are going to shoot only next summer, is already in the top news. Like, well, where is it good for – LGBT propaganda, insulting the feelings of believers and for public money. Moreover, many have drawn conclusions by looking only at the poster. The poster is provocative indeed. But, as Aleksey Gladushevsky says, all the meanings and ideas of this film are not at all those that the press put into the headlines.

Inter Reviewed: On Monday, Vasilian was at a central Kyiv theater the place crowds of followers had gathered to look at the teaser for his film. Whereas he was there, a flood of hateful messages, together with threats of rape and homicide, bombarded Vasilian’s Instagram. “Whereas individuals round me have been having fun with the presentation of our new film a few 17-year-old Ukrainian man, who’s misplaced in internal immigration, I used to be studying terrible threats on my telephone,” the director mentioned in an interview with The Each day Beast. Whereas Vasilian can’t disclose an excessive amount of in regards to the movie simply but, it’s centered on the character of Paul, a 17-year-old Ukrainian from a rich household who has grown disillusioned together with his life. That’s, till he falls in love—and the item of his affection is subsequently concerned in homicide.

The Daily Beast:  When the film, which is set to debut in 2023, was announced earlier this year, Vasilian and his team were well aware that they might face backlash—especially from Ukraine’s far-right circles. What he didn’t expect was that his life would be threatened, not only for being the first Ukrainian director to film men making love, but also for being ethnically Armenian and non-Slav.

On Monday, Vasilian was at a central Kyiv theater where crowds of fans had gathered to watch the teaser for his movie. While he was there, a flood of hateful messages, including threats of rape and murder, bombarded Vasilian’s Instagram. “While people around me were enjoying the presentation of our new movie about a 17-year-old Ukrainian man, who is lost in inner immigration, I was reading awful threats on my phone,” the director said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

While Vasilian can’t disclose too much about the film just yet, it is centered on the character of Paul, a 17-year-old Ukrainian from a wealthy family who has grown disillusioned with his life. That is, until he falls in love—and the object of his affection is subsequently involved in murder.

Most of the hate messages Vasilian received are too awful to be quoted. A less extreme example on Instagram read: “The smoked one is fucked,” hinting at the color of Vasilian’s skin. Another comment said: “The hour of the moral court is coming for you.” One Instagram user sent an even more chilling threat: He said the film had offended “the children of Catharsis.”

The far-right Telegram channel “Catharsis” is known for attacking immigrants, non-Slavic Ukrainians, drug addicts, and LGBTQ individuals. “This Telegram channel reflects the radical views of all ultra-right Ukrainian groups, including Tradition and Order, the Right Sector, the Bases for the Future, C14 and a number of other groups. Many of them emerged after the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution,” an expert on Ukraine’s far right at Zaborona Media, Polina Vernigor, told The Daily Beast.

The screen writers and producers behind My Young Prince believe that it is important for gay men to be represented in Ukraine, where, according to a recent social poll, 47% of population are intolerant toward the LGBTQ community.

Above: The film was directed by Khachatur Vasilyan and produced by Alexei Gladushevsky. They are also the co-authors of the script. Photo: sh.pro media

Earlier this year, My Young Prince won a competition among hundreds of Ukrainian movie proposals and received about $770,000 in state funding. But shortly after that, more than 3,000 people signed a petition calling for the funds to be revoked and criticizing the film for scenes featuring Orthodox Christian symbols.

KP.UA: Khachatur Vasilyan: I like that such a discussion has flared up around the cinema. I think that, like in other countries, we have both normal and yellow press. The normal press tries to find out as many details as possible about the project and to present everything a little deeper. The tabloid press appeals exclusively with headlines, covering everything else with contrived negativity.

Unfortunately, 90% of our press writing about the film is just like that. By the press, I mean publics and channels too. The principle works: “copied – pasted”. It’s a pity for the few people who eat it with big spoons get angry and lose their temper, even though no one has seen the movie yet. I don’t read headlines and articles, it doesn’t make me laugh.