A Russian company that put up a six-and-a-half foot iPhone sculpture last year in St. Petersburg has taken it down, allegedly in response to Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly revealing that he is gay on Thursday.
"The monument to Steve Jobs was solemnly placed in January 2013 in the area of direct access for young students and schoolchildren. Russian legislation prohibits propaganda of homosexuality and other sexual perversions among minors," local news site Ekho Moskvy reported.
"After Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly called for sodomy, the monument was dismantled pursuant to Russian federal law on the protection of children from information that promotes the denial of traditional family values."
The site added that Edward Snowden's revelations indicate that they are aware that Apple is spying on their users around the world, and feeding the information to the US government.
The iPhone sculpture was erected by a company called ZEFS (Western European Financial Union), and stood in the courtyard of the ITMO university in St. Petersburg.
There are some conflicting reports about whether this explanation is the actual reason the sculpture was disassembled. Russian media outlet Tass said that any speculation that the dismantling of the iPhone was related to Cook's revelations were completely untrue, and the statue had only been taken for repair.
However Russian gay rights activist, journalist, and author Masha Gessen told VICE News that she's not so sure. "I have no reason to doubt the reports: they originated with a reputable news agency in St. Petersburg and the people named have not issued any denials," she said.
"I'm not especially surprised," she said. "The monument was a privately funded one, on private land — it was bankrolled by the owner of a hi-tech research company — and businessmen in Russia have to be especially sensitive to where the wind is blowing. You can't be too careful: from the point of view of this entrepreneur, it's better to over fight gay propaganda than under fight it."
Channel 4 reported that prominent Russian politician Vitaly Milonov has also spoken out against Tim Cook, calling for the Apple CEO to be banned from Russia, and declaring that he could bring "Ebola, AIDS, and gonorrhoea" to the country.
Cook came out in an essay that was published in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, where he stated: "I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It's made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry," he wrote.
Russia's LGBT propaganda law was unanimously approved by the Russian Duma on June 11, 2013, and signed into law several weeks later. This move attracted a lot of international criticism, including calls to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics.
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