During a recent trip to Russia, Ralph Fiennes says he was told not to employ a gay director or film any gay subject matter.

The British actor, known for his appearances in The English Patient, Harry Potter and Schindler’s List, took part in a discussion about media censorship at the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Wednesday.

Fiennes revealed on a recent trip to Russia, he had been asked to sign a written requirement not to employ a gay director or film any gay subject matter.

I knew there was a disturbing level of homophobia, but this written requirement I found profoundly disturbing,” he told Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger.

“I’m afraid I laughed – as you do when you discover something really shocking.”

President Vladimir Putin gave approval to a federal law banning LGBT “propaganda” last year.