Russia warns Disney against screening short film ‘Out’ featuring gay character

Disney Pixar Out

Russia’s communication regulator has warned Disney against screening and promoting Pixar short about a gay character, saying the film violates Russian law.

Reuters reported that Roskomnadzor sent a letter to Disney on Friday (28 May) saying its short film Out, which features a gay character as its lead, was harmful to children in Russia. The regulator warned Disney that it is against Russian law to distribute content that “denies family values and promotes non-traditional sexual relationships” to children.

Vladimir Putin and his government introduced a 2013 Russian law that banned so-called “gay propaganda”, prohibiting the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. Under this legislation, sharing information about LGBT+ lives can earn a person a prison sentence or large fines.

Out follows a queer man as he works up the courage to come out to his parents when they come to visit him. The heartwarming film was produced by Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and it was the first film with an openly LGBT+ main character and storyline.

The nine-minute short film was released on streaming platform Disney Plus last May. LGBT+ media monitoring organisation GLAAD said, at the time, that Out‘s release represented a “huge step forward for The Walt Disney Company in establishing itself as a welcome home for the stories about all loving couples and families, including LGBTQ ones”.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor in Russia filed complaints to have Dolce & Gabbana adverts showing same-sex couples kissing banned in Russia. The press services for the St Petersburg courts said Mikhail Romanov, a member of the country’s ruling party United Russia, filed complaints concerning ads that the Italian fashion brand posted in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day this year.

The press office said in a statement that the Romanov’s complaint claimed Dolce & Gabbana’s campaign “contains information that rejects family values and propagandises non-traditional sexual relationships”.

But the press service said the claim hasn’t progressed yet because it hadn’t fulfilled certain administrative requirements. It added that information on the case will be updated on 7 June.

PinkNews has contacted Disney for comment.