Russian LGBT Groups Ask Apple to Break With Anti-Gay Businessman
More than 15 LGBT organizations have teamed up to urge Apple officials to cut ties with Euroset, the largest phone retailer in Russia, after the company’s creative director came under fire last month for saying gays should be shoved alive into a furnace, according to a new report by Mother Jones.
Ivan Okhlobystin’s comments were made at a "spiritual talks" event in Novosibirsk, Russia, on Dec. 8 and instantly made headlines around the world.
"I myself would shove all live gays into a furnace," Okhlobystin, 47, who was also a popular actor in Russia for staring in the country’s version of "Scrubs," said. "This is Sodom and Gomorrah, I as a believer in God can not treat this indifferently, this is a live threat to my kids!... I do not want my kids to think that faggots are normal. This is lavender fascism. If a person can not choose someone of an opposite sex for procreation -- this is an overt sign of mental abnormality, so they should be denied of voting rights."
The activists wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tom Cook on Jan. 5, pointing out why hate speech, especially in Russia, is dangers to the country’s LGBT community.
"[Okhlobystin’s] statements have been enthusiastically published by the Kremlin’s propaganda press and distributed across entire Russia just adding additional fuel to the rampant homophobic campaign that already resulted in at least 26 murders and countless hate crimes against Russian LGBT population [sic]."
The activists also ask Cook to "set Apple as an example of a corporate citizen who supports basic human rights."
Mother Jones reports the collation is turning to Apple since they did not get much of a response from Okhlobystin’s employer. On Dec. 26, six LGBT rights groups wrote to Euroset President Alexander Malis, asking him to "clarify how [Okhlobystin’s] views are aligned with the values and principals of Euroset company, and to make a statement on inadmissibility of bullying and violence based on prejudice."