Following a Russian politician’s tirade warning that Apple CEO Tim Cook being gay would mean “Ebola, AIDS, gonorrhea” coming to Russia, a statue of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has disappeared from the city of St. Petersburg.
According to Russian news reports, the monument, in the shape of an iPhone the height of a person, had been installed in 2013 on the campus of the St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies. It had been placed there by a private business group calling itself the Western European Financial Union.
That group issued a statement last week, denouncing Apple and CEO Tim Cook.
"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide [by] the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values," the group said in a statement, as quoted at International Business Times.
A recently-passed Russian law forbids pro-gay “propaganda” from being disseminated to children. The law was the target of protests around the time of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The group gave a second reason for the statue’s removal: Allegations in Edward Snowden's leaked NSA documents that Apple users’ data, along with the data of many other companies' customers, is being collected by U.S. intelligence services.
The move to remove the statue came after a St. Petersburg city councillor launched a tirade against Tim Cook last week, following the Apple CEO's announcement that he is "proud" to be gay.
"What can he bring us? Ebola, AIDS, gonnorhea?" councilor Vitaly Milonov reportedly said. "They all have promiscuous relations (in the West). Ban him forever.”
Russia is one of the world’s most anti-gay countries. Recent polling shows just 16 per cent of Russians believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, a rate lower than that of Jordan (18 per cent) and much lower than the U.S. (60 per cent) or Canada (80 per cent).
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