Homophobia in Russia has plumbed new lows after a memorial to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was pulled down after incumbent CEO Tim Cook came out as gay last week.
Residents of St. Petersburg, the country’s second largest city, forcibly removed the memorial after Cook came out as gay on Thursday, according to Business FM Radio, and doesn’t plan to return it until the memorial has been adjusted.
A press release from Maxim Dolgopolev, chairman of ZEFS, the company that erected the memorial, stated that the 6ft high iPhone had been removed for two reasons. One is Cook coming out as gay and the other Edward Snowden’s revelations of spying by the NSA that revealed the use of Apple products by security services.
Dolgopolev didn’t rule out the memorial returning in some guise in the future, though he did warn that it would need to altered to advise customers to use products from companies other than Apple.
When it was still in place, the memorial featured a large screen that showed significant moments from Jobs’ life that included quotations from speeches he gave and a QR code on the back that took people to a website.
Cook made the public announcement on Thursday and even before the memorial was unceremoniously torn down Vitaly Milonov, a politician behind St. Petersburg’s anti-gay “propaganda” law, made various disparaging comments about Cook.
“What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhoea? They all have unseemly ties over there,” he told the FlashNord website when asked about Cook. “Ban him for life.”
Homophobic views coming to the fore in the city is certainly nothing new after the “Landskrona” fans group that follows the city’s football team, Zenit, published a manifesto in 2012 that outlined a vision for a team that didn’t include “representatives of sexual minorities”.
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