Russia Dismantles Steve Jobs Memorial, Fearing That Tim Cook's Homosexuality Might Be Contagious

from the an-extra-dose-of-bigotry-for-good-measure dept

By now you’ve probably noticed that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his political compatriots aren’t particularly enlightened fellows, whether it’s their hypocrisy on surveillance or the country’s increasingly abysmal record when it comes to free speech. This narrow-mindedness was made even more painfully evident when in 2013 Putin and friends supported the passage of the country’s national “LGBT propaganda” law, designed to protect minors from the terrifying menace presented by “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” while upholding “family values” through discrimination.

Since then, interpretation of what constitutes an erosion of said family values has been hysterically and disturbingly broad, and the law in some cases has been used to justify violent, vigilante behavior against the country’s LGBT community. Taking interpretation of that law to an entirely new level of ridiculousness, the Russian government this week dismantled a cell-phone-shaped Steve Jobs memorial constructed in 2013 by a coalition of companies in downtown St. Petersburg. Why? Apparently the government was concerned that passers by might contract homosexuality from a statue paying homage to one of the world’s most significant technology visionaries:

“In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law,” ZEFS said, noting the memorial had been “in an area of direct access for young students and scholars”. “After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values.”

Of course Cook also said nothing of the sort in his recent Bloomberg piece, only stating he’s “proud to be gay” and that the struggles he’s faced over the course of his lifetime have made him both tougher and more empathetic. That’s a message apparently missed by St. Petersburg City Councilman Vitaly Milonov, who not-so-gracefully stated he’d like to see the CEO of one of the world’s most successful technology companies banned from entering the country:

“Shortly after Cook?s announcement, conservative St. Petersburg City Councilman Vitaly Milonov called for Cook to be banned from entering the country because of his sexual orientation. “What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea?” Milonov said during an interview with the website FlashNord.”

As it stands, Milonov might want to be less concerned with students catching homosexuality from slabs of steel and concrete, and a little more concerned with them catching a severe and incurable case of the stupid.

Update: A story by RT seems to rather vaguely suggest the whole thing was a hoax, though at least one St. Petersburg local in the story’s comment section disputes the RT story’s take.

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Comments on “Russia Dismantles Steve Jobs Memorial, Fearing That Tim Cook's Homosexuality Might Be Contagious”

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That One Guy says:

“Shortly after Cook’s announcement, conservative St. Petersburg City Councilman Vitaly Milonov called for Cook to be banned from entering the country because of his sexual orientation. “What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea?” Milonov said during an interview with the website FlashNord.”

Ah, always nice to have brain-dead bigots spouting off and showing that even in the modern day, there’s still morons who believe the stupidest things.

Russia is a huge market, so I don’t imagine it would ever happen, but I can’t help but think it would be rather funny if Apple stopped selling in the country for a month or even year, show just what they can ‘bring to the country’.

jameshogg says:

Terroriser of Ukraine.
Threatener of Poland.
Bully of Georgia.
Occupier of Chechnya.
Supporter of Bashar Al Assad.
Supporter of dictators in general.
Vetoer of justified United Nations resolutions.
United with a church behind the Protocols of the Elders of Zion fabrication.
Headed by a KGB scumbag with a cult of personality.
Brutaliser of the press.
Spews piss from Russia Today.
And, of course, homophobic scapegoater.

Praised by lunatics from the Left and the Right alike.

This is the Russian regime. Never before has the need for liberty been so great in that country.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'll tell Mr. Milonov

If you want to see someone squirm, ask them to clarify their position. For example, if they say that they want to refuse marriage rights gays because they find anal sex disgusting, ask them why they’re not demanding the same thing for heterosexuals who do the same thing. Then ask them why they even care, as long as the act is in private between 2 consenting adults.

Not conducive to polite friendly conversation, perhaps, but great for exposing bigots and hypocrites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Russia has a declining population and sees homosexuality as a problem which interferes with the creation of babies. Although perhaps misguided from a western point of view, the idea is to discourage people from adopting a homosexual lifestyle. After all, if more people have more babies it’s possible that population growth could occur. So, from what I can tell, it’s not so much a matter as homophobia or any form of hatred towards the LGBT community, as it is an effort to pragmatically solve a problem. I think as seen from the perspective of the leaders of Russia (not just Putin) it is a case of the national interest of survival of the nation is simply seen as a priority over personal happiness in this case. Not saying this is good or bad or correct or incorrect, but the way it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re thinking on an individual level and not a societal level. Making it less convenient to be in a homosexual relationship will encourage many to go with the heterosexual alternative. Most people are not exclusive in their sexual preference and so aversive policies (perhaps coupled with economic incentives) could encourage many who would not otherwise produce babies to engage in such an enterprise.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Making it less convenient to be in a homosexual relationship will encourage many to go with the heterosexual alternative.”

So what you’re saying is that it’s a good thing to make people live in misery because it would result in an increased birth rate?

I would posit that there are many ways of increasing birth rate without causing such harm. Perhaps by encouraging heterosexual couples to have more babies? Or just paying a bounty for babies?

The number of gay people in society will not rise or fall based on societal pressure, after all, and gays will always be a small minority, so if birth rate is the issue, why not just focus on heterosexual couples?

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Making it less convenient to be in a homosexual relationship will encourage many to go with the heterosexual alternative.”

There’s an astounding level of ignorance in this comment.

Given how trivial you seem to think changing your sexuality is, if the government made it less convenient to be in a heterosexual relationship, would you just shrug your shoulders in resignation and go with the homosexual alternative?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

This also flirts with the time-honored bigotry that is the notion that “the gays” are recruiting people to homosexuality. That’s an argument that actually makes me laugh, because it implies not only that people choose to be gay, but includes the overt logical problem of implying that there is something so completely awesome about being gay that you can be talked into it. Show me a person who thinks being gay is that attractive of a notion and I’ll show you someone who was gay to begin with.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Social frameworks have a large influence over the options taken in the sex life of its members.

Male homosexual acts have been a normal part of adolescence and adult life in a number of societies, some of tribal nature, some large-scale civilizations. Descriptions in Plato’s dialogs (like Euthydemon or Symposion) giving them higher intrinsic value than heterosexual relations were part of the reason Plato’s works were rather frowned upon by early Christians.

If you read Alkibiades’ account of his unsuccessful endeavors to seduce Sokrates, you cannot help but notice that homosexuality was depicted as the norm to a degree where “he’s just not that into boys” does not even enter the argument and would be considered queer.

Our prevalent classification into “homosexual” and “heterosexual” does not seem to fit with that society: either appear as a deficiency in full sexual potential so might be more properly labelled “non-homosexual” or “non-heterosexual”, the former harming the potential for true love, the latter harming procreation.

And nobody would think of asking women what they want, so that antique perspective is actually very much male-only.

Since the Greek of that time were quite genetically the same material that most Caucasians of our times are, obviously society could talk people into making homoerotic acts part of their sexuality a whole lot.

And frankly, if you take a look at heterosexual masturbation devices in a typical sex shop: a warm-bodied male would seem to share a lot more traits with a warm-bodied female than an inflatable doll does. Yet the former appears to many as requiring a much larger stretch of imagination than the latter.

So yes: it is quite plausible to me that social norms can play a large role in what kind of sexuality one finds oneself able to enjoy.

There is still no point in witch hunts, though: homosexuality is a “problem” that takes care of itself in one generation if you let it run its natural course.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Still the uninformed Bigot, I see

Well, the book religions having run the overwhelming majority of governments or at least societies in the last millennia certainly are not known to let homosexuality run its natural course.

At any rate “taking care of itself” was more implying that the ratios drop to those which are typical for traits not directly reproducing in its actual phenotype.

The offspring of a hemophiliac is not hemophiliac (exception are daughters from parents both carrying the gene, but those rarely survive infancy, let alone long enough to reproduce).

Not forcing reproduction on those who don’t want it will keep them from raising children who, for whatever reason, are conceived/raised/subjected to an atmosphere where reproduction is not really viewed as positive, while “hogging” partners that actually would, in other relations, multiply.

We don’t actually need homosexuals for driving that dynamic: modern life manages that perfectly well without them. The whole “breed or perish” dynamic that has been dominating millennia of civilization is no longer relevant for most of us. So homosexuality is not a “danger” here.

Several civilizations embraced it: the Greek well before going down, the Romans while going down. I have no idea how the old Germanic and Keltic religions were inclined, but clearly everything derived from the God of Israel, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam, considered it a deadworthy offense.

And it’s not been more than about one to two generations that most secular governments have shed the corresponding legislation, and it’s only been in the last 10 years or so that public figures made a point by coming out of the closet.

Not much “natural course” so far…

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Most people are not exclusive in their sexual preference…

[Citation needed]

If anything, scientific studies have shown the opposite, in that most people are only attracted to one sex or the other. By studying arousal in self-declared bisexuals scientists found that the vast majority of them were only physically stimulated by one sex or the other, regardless of their professed preferences.

It doesn’t mean bisexuals don’t exist, it just means that it’s extremely rare…which is the opposite of “most people not being exclusive in their sexual preferences.”

The more likely reason is because it’s easy to rally ignorant people in hatred towards a minority and blame them for your problems rather than actually do something to fix the real issue.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:‎Similar

Read the first article with a grain of salt (it was later determined to be based on a flawed study). Even if the study was flawed, it still indicates a disconnect between professed sexual orientation and actual sexual orientation in many cases.

According to NHIS only 0.7% of Americans even identify as bisexual, let alone engage in bisexual activity. The highest estimates for men is 1.8% and 2.8% for women in 2002.

Studies have found that bisexuals do exist, as I stated before, but that it’s very rare (I would classify anything under 3% of the population as “extremely rare”). The argument I was responding too said that “most” people are bisexual or can be “convinced” to be bisexual, and this is completely the opposite of reality, in which over 97% of the population is not that way.

Dangleberry the Occasionally Confused says:

Re: Re: Re:

Faulty logic, making it illegal to be gay in Russia is not going to magically turn those people straight and cause them to start popping out kids.

Indeed, as appears to be the case, legalising gay marriage has led to a greater acceptance of gay couples becoming parents – either through adoption or surrogates/donors. Which can only be a good thing.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Acceptance is always a good idea. But it still tends to tilt the tables against the kids. Homosexual relations tend to be more short-lived than heterosexual ones (though compared to the sharp decline of the general duration of marriage it may not be a really large additional difference). Surrogates/donors lead to a “single biological and legally responsible parent” situation that is making the kid more of a personal appendage rather than a family member.

Of course, so is the tendency of fathering/mothering children when one partner is solidly into the sixties or later.

So all in all, it’s not tilting the table all that much further than “modern society” likes to tilt it anyway.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ok, but either way at the highest estimates the homosexual population accounts for maybe 6% of the overall population of a country. Compare this to the 5-10% estimated infertility rates in heterosexual couples (ignoring people who are single, or outside childbearing years) and homosexuality is almost completely statistically insignificant to declining birth rates, especially if you account for the miniscule percent that would have children in the imaginary world where same-sex relationships weren’t possible.

You can have any view you want, but if you want people to agree with you, you might want some slightly plausible data to back it up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You are not only demanding scientific evidence for something here. You are claiming that insufficient science is worse than no science at all to make the ends meet.

While the west has a huge amount of problematic assertions on ownership of non-physical creations and some hypocricy in the way particularly Africa, Middle east and South America are treated, Russias fundamental thinking is problematic here. Several of the gay couples I know have several kids. Turns out that not having to worry about repressals for being gay, ironically makes their priorities shift towards a normal family-life. If anything the increasing amounts of singles is a worse thing irt. demography.

Anonymous Coward says:

It just isnt special to be gay anymore, sorry.

If being gay wasn’t a status symbol no one would care, but it seems like every time someone falls behind in the ratings, or wants some attention they come out as glbt.

Sorry to tell you this, but when you are equal with the rest of us, it mean your no longer special and no one cares who you sleep with anymore.

Welcome to equality, now turn in your rainbow stickers.

jameshogg says:

Re: It just isnt special to be gay anymore, sorry.

Ah yes. Here come the contrarians.

“Men have been oppressed, too!”
“Black people being racist is a problem, too!”
“Gays can be dickheads, too!”
“Disabled people still have the ability to be offensive!”
“Minority X think they are above criticism all because we say so and/or a few bad actors and THAT DESERVES OUR FULL ATTENTION AND RESOURCES. Am I cool yet? Am I polemical?! Where’s MY column in the papers?! Bloody biased media! They should ‘step aside’ for my freedom of speech! I won’t be corrupt at all, nope!”

And other euphemisms by ten million idiots. It’s pissing me off and I hope some people in here will agree. There’s been a lot of this and especially in particular gaming circles lately, and it infects Reddit all over: the idea that exceptional circumstances such as the above ought to be given equal attention by human rights groups even when they are stretched enough on funding as it is, and if you don’t agree you are a biased media person of some sort.

There is such a thing as prioritization. If anything, human rights groups ought to be doing MORE for defending minorities in the face of anti-internationalist stupidity, such as women’s rights, gay rights and many other rights for those in the Islamic world – taking the sides of those who fight fascism in particular. Muslims are oppressed every single day by fascist thugs in the Middle East such as ISIS, yet we think Muslims living in the secular West must be the most oppressed kind of Muslims on the planet due to Fox News fearmongering or whatever and therefore that’s where all our focus should lie. It’s enough to make me sick and shows complete ignorance of the wars people have to endure because of the scum of the Earth who will strip them of any and all liberty. Frankly, there is much more at stake.

And comments like this one are examples of what I mean: stressing how the problem is not the brutal treatment of gays in Russia or the fact that the Apple CEO should show no shame in standing up to bastards, rather the fact that they are just too loud and too proud. Well how MEAN of them! I did not realise the condition of your ears took precedence here! YOUR idea of equality is clearly far superior. And clearly “no one cares who you sleep with anymore” is enough of a warrant to stop caring about gays in general – at least, I can’t see any other way of interpreting that statement. They’ve apparently done all they can and they should shut up regardless of the treatment some of their comrades still endure on the other side of the planet.

“Contrarians” is the right word to describe such a swarm of wannabe polemics who all think they are unique. When really they can’t look outside their fucking windows.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: It just isnt special to be gay anymore, sorry.

I think I understand what you mean. Heck, when J.K. Rowling declared that Dumbledore was gay, that was just inane fanservice that added nothing to the character. Personally, between society’s endless obsessions with gays and boobs, I’ve become pretty much asexual by this point.

But your argument fails firstly because of your blatant disdain for your fellow man, and secondly because repression of homosexuality is still a very real problem in the world, and in this case it’s happening in one of the most oppressive countries in the world. There is no equality yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

spin, spin, and more spin.

In the current climate of anti-Americanism sweeping Russia for the past year (and vice versa) it seems odd that there would still be any monuments to US “corporate imperialism” left standing, particularly regarding companies that collaborated with NSA spying.

But no matter. Like everything else about Russia in US mainstream news today, a simple, targeted narrative will be spun out of this complicated, tangled mass. Mission complete.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: spin, spin, and more spin.

I suppose that hoaxes can be a bit of a warning sign for your image. If people take outrageous hoaxes or satire seriously then you have a bigger problems than just the hoax. Namely that it is completely believable and consistent with your entity and is subject to something similar to Poe’s Law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: spin, spin, and more spin.

The main problem is that most people are gullible and easily swayed by propaganda, and never bother to check to see how true a story really is. Unlike Karl Bode, I smelled something fishy from the start, so I looked around and found that, yes, indeed, there were questions of credibility with this narrative.

Although Russian newspapers may be labeling the story a hoax, it more likely follows the standard propaganda techniques of cherry-picking some tiny grains of truth, creatively expanding on them, and blowing them up out of proportion. Another rule out of the propaganda handbook is to stay “on message” and hammer the same points over and over again. So even if this story turns out to be completely untrue, it won’t make any difference, because there will be another story, then another, driving in the exact same theme.

It’s not unlike all those news reports of the Russian army ordered into Ukraine that Western news agencies have been spewing out continuously for months on end. The fact that not a single one has been proven true (aside from the lost soldier who strayed across an unmarked border and was arrested) does not make the public more skeptical of each “new” sighting. Instead, it just reinforced in the public mind the repetition of (mostly untrue) stories that they’ve been told repeatedly.

One thing that’s telling is that of all the comments posted on this story, no one questioned it (or apparently bothered to google the subject) which kind of shows that people’s minds are already made up. A propaganda victory.

RA (profile) says:

The Gay Menace

Have you ever had a buddy who decided to inform you that he is gay. As soon as they know you could not care less about their sexual appetites they become a menace, or at the least a disturbance.
They sit around and gossip with your girlfriend about men. They brink every new boyfriend over so they can let the new guy see how enlightened you are. They require repeated reminders that you are not interested in their gay sexual exploits any more than they are interested in your new cunnilingus technique.
Gays are menace to society.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“There is heck of a difference between not allowing marriage, which is a religious question”

Marriage, gay or not, is a governmental institution. It’s essentially a kind of corporation. That it overlaps with many religious beliefs is a serious problem with how we handle marriage in the US.

This is why I think that we should just get rid of the legal institution of marriage entirely and replace it with an overt type of incorporation that is a purely legal contractual instrument that can be entered into by anyone who is competent to enter into contracts.

It nicely resolves the entire gay marriage issue by making “marriage” a purely social (rather than legal) construct, and allows the incredibly useful legal aspects of “marriage” available outside of romantic relationships. In practice, I would expect religious marriages to take place in conjunction with entering into the contractual relationship, but there would be no legal reason why the two would have to be connected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That is not entirely accurate. Denmark have had a civil marriage for same sex couples for 25 years, but 2 years ago it was still more or less necessary for a voluntary church-marriage ceremony to be approved too on account of priests asking for it. Now, I think the US churches are so decentralized that it isn’t a problem and separation of church and state in this context is a good idea, but it doesn’t end the controversy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

USAs politicians aren’t great either:
Newly elected representative Grothman has called on Kerrys opposition towards Ugandas anti-gay law as being a “concern for God”.
Hice has said that homosexuals have a plan to take over the country.
And Buck, has a Russian quip on being gay: “birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism… but I think that basically you have a choice.”

shane (profile) says:

"Orientation" a lie

While no particular fan of Putin or Russia in general (And that’s obviously part of the point of the article, isn’t it? To tie anyone opposed to homosexuality as a fascist?), I will just repeat that the concept of homosexuality as an “orientation” is bankrupt, as it is entirely impossible to confirm or deny.

This concept has brought us to the brink of a Constitutional crisis in this nation, setting the right to celebrate what has for quite literally millenia been nigh universally seen as a grotesque sexual perversion in direct opposition to the literal wording of the Constitution, which prevents the state from establishing a religion or preventing the free exercise thereof.

I cannot imagine anyone at the time anticipated homosexuality being seriously promoted as an alternative to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

I am hopeful that, as the idiocy of the so called “research” establishing homosexuality as a sort of race, class, or gender all its own slowly becomes more publicly understood, that this grotesque violation of not just our civil rights, but of our ability to self govern AT ALL, will be understood and repudiated.

To put it even more bluntly, I am sick and tired of the political left pushing every conceivable sexual degradation as a civil right.

We were told we had to have almost no limits on porn in order to preserve freedom of the press and other civil rights.

Now we have plenty of porn, and also plenty of violations of our civil rights.

You people are not our friends, you who constantly foist sexual filth on us as if it were something we as a nation need more of.

David says:

Re: "Orientation" a lie

I am sick and tired of the political left pushing every conceivable sexual degradation as a civil right.

The government has no business meddling with what happens between consenting adults. Because once it starts meddling, there is no line where it will end. The Constitution’s “Bill of Rights” carves out areas where the citizens are free from government interference. The reason it does so because government has the tendency to grab everything it can. So does religion.

The world does not get better by burning enough “witches” and “perverts” and whoever is your favorite subhuman of the day.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "Orientation" a lie

To put it even more bluntly, I am sick and tired of the political left pushing every conceivable sexual degradation as a civil right.

Indeed, why I still remember when they allowed inter-racial marriages to occur, and even had the gall to challenge laws against it! What a revolting travesty! Whites stay with whites, blacks stay with blacks, that’s how it’s been for centuries, and that’s how it should have stayed!

(In case you’re curious, this is what those throwing a fit over homosexuals being able to get married look like to those with any sense of history)

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