Russia warns Disney against distributing short film with gay character
© Pixar

Russia is warning Disney against screening and promoting its short film, “Out,” which was released on Disney+ last year and features a gay man as the central character. 

Reuters reported Friday that Russia's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, sent a letter to Disney warning that it is against Russian national law to distribute content that "denies family values and promotes non-traditional sexual relationships" to children.

While same-sex relationships are legal in Russia, the country in a national referendum last July voted to officially define marriage in the country as a union between a man and a woman. 

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The definition was officially signed into law last month.

In addition, a 2013 Russian law banned the distribution of "propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations" among young people, according to Reuters. 

Human rights groups have condemned the legislation, arguing that it promotes harmful and hostile ideologies toward homosexuality and the LGBT community. 

Disney’s short film, which was first released in May of last year as part of Disney+ SparkShorts series, was produced by Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and was the first short film for both companies to feature an LGBT main character and storyline. 

The animated, 9-minute film, which includes an on-screen, same-sex kiss, centers around a young man who is struggling to come out to his parents. With the help of some magic, the man turns into a dog, which complicates his effort to hide evidence that would reveal his identity to his parents. 

National LGBT advocacy group GLAAD said at the time of the film’s release that the story represented Pixar and parent company Disney’s “legacy as a place for heartwarming stories about finding one’s own inner strength in the face of life’s challenges.”

“The release of ‘Out’ on Disney+ represents a huge step forward for The Walt Disney Company in establishing itself as a welcoming home for stories about all loving couples and families, including LGBTQ ones,” Jeremy Blacklow, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media, said at the time. 

The Hill has reached out to Disney for comment on Russia’s letter.