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Overwatch comic banned in Russia over ‘propaganda’ fears after revealing gay character

Overwatch comic banned in Russia over ‘propaganda’ fears after revealing gay character

Overwatch banned in Russia as Blizzard reveals gay character

When Overwatch said it would have a canonical same-sex relationship, fans all over the world couldn’t wait to see who the LGBTI character would be.

But for Russian fans, a webcomic revealing the lesbian couple was pre-emptively banned for fear of breaking the ‘gay propaganda’ ban on promoting ‘non-traditional relationships to children’.

The comic features Tracer’s holiday adventures which also include smooching her partner, Emily.

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But if you try to read it in Russia, it reads: ‘In accordance with Russian law, we cannot share this comic with our players.’

Blizzard, the company behind Overwatch – the team-based multiplayer first-shooter with many characters – confirmed they had blocked the comic on advice of their legal team.

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‘Blizzard decided not to publish in Russia to comply with Russian legislation,’ a studio representative told Eurogamer.

‘We preemptively decided not to publish given the climate in Russia and legal feedback.

Earlier this month, Russia MPs called for a ban on FIFA 17 after EA Sports offered players the opportunity to dress their team a rainbow soccer kit as part of a LGBTI sports campaign.

The ‘gay propaganda’ law has led to many individuals and groups being fined for ‘promoting homosexuality to children’. It also led to the closure of Children 404, an online support group for LGBTI teens.

However, larger companies have done better. When it was argued Apple should be fined for including gay emojis in a recent update, a Moscow court threw the complaint out.