Russia 'Investigating' Apple Over The Diabolical Menace That Is LGBT-Friendly Emojis

from the sanctioned-bigotry dept

Russia's been nothing but busy since passing its 2013 LGBT propaganda law, designed to protect minors from the terrifying menace of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" while upholding "family values" through government-encouraged discrimination and hatred. The law has had two major benefits for the Russian government; allowing Putin and friends to use homophobia to encourage distrust of heathens in the West (at the cost of increased violence against the LGBT community), while providing feeble justification for the country's heavy-handed censorship efforts.

Most attempted enforcement of the law is comical in nature, like the government's apparent decision recently to "investigate" Apple for violating the law with a several-year-old set of LGBT-friendly....emojis (which Apple included back in iOS update 8.3). The "investigation" was apparently prompted by a Russian lawyer by the name of Yaroslav Mikhailov, who has previously had political opposition journalists investigated for their comical posts to Instagram:
"The case, brought by police in Russia's Kirov region 600 miles northeast of Moscow, follows a complaint by a local attorney named Yaroslav Mikhailov, Russian newspaper Gazeta reported. Mikhailov argued that that Apple is violating Russia's ban on so-called "gay propaganda" in the presence of minors by including the emojis in the iOs 8.3 package. The case, opened last month, is awaiting expert analysis of the cartoon motifs to determine whether they count as "gay propaganda," the newspaper reported.
According to an older report by Russia's Izvestia newspaper, the investigation was also prompted by a complaint from Mikhail Marchenko, a Russian senator who apparently believes the more racially diverse and LGBT-inclusive emojis somehow "disrespect" traditional families:
"Mr Marchenko claims the symbols - which depict smiley-faced same-sex couples - violate a controversial 2013 law which prohibits promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships. The law allows Russian authorities to block access to websites deemed to promote homosexuality. Mr Marchenko said in his complaint that the emojis "promoted non-traditional sexual relationships", "denied family values" ​​and showed "disrespect for parents and other family members."
These are, apparently, the moral-fabric-eroding cartoon representations that have some so deeply, deeply offended:
War on emojis
Diabolical indeed. Should Apple be found "guilty" of the offense, the company could be fined the Russian equivalent of roughly $15,000 in Tim Cook couch change, and sales of its products could be suspended in the country for three months. Again, this kind of blisteringly-idiotic behavior would be funny were it not for the fact that the Russian-government-sanctioned bigotry has resulted in a dramatic spike in violence against the LGBT community.
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Filed Under: emoji, investigation, lgbt, propaganda, russia
Companies: apple


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 11:43am

    Why is this even a thing?

    Completely useless icons anyway just find some "app" to delete them and be done with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 12:16pm

    Insert Sarcasm

    Damn LBGT Space Invaders ruining traditional marriage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 12:21pm

    Another example...

    ...of cultural wars cited in another article's comments.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Sep 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Protecting the Sanctity of Traditional Bigotry

    Mike Huckabee should be along any moment now to tell us which emojis violate the Constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 1:06pm

    As long as the swastika is banned in Europe I cant really argue against this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 29 Sep 2015 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      The swastika is not banned in Europe. There was a proposal to ban the swastika in EU wide anti-racism laws, but there was enough opposition that it was dropped.

      It's banned in Germany and a couple other individual countries within Europe.

      In any case how do you equate the Nazi symbol, under which millions were killed, with an icon of a same-sex couple? It's like claiming "As long as slavery is banned in the US I cant really argue against banning encryption."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re:

        "In any case how do you equate the Nazi symbol, under which millions were killed, with an icon of a same-sex couple?"


        Banning speech is banning speech. What the symbol represents is irrelevant. What matters is that it's a government going "We don't like this symbol, it is now banned. Anyone who uses it will face a court of law."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re:

        A lot of people have been killed in history for being LGBT too.

        In any case, I think Russia needs to take this up with the Unicode group -- Apple is just implementing characters in that character set.

        As for the swastika... I'm sure I've got some quilts around with a swastika pattern on them (different colors) as that was a pretty common quilting pattern before the Nazis got their hands on it. It was also a religious symbol that had nothing to do with Aryan ideals. I prefer reclaiming symbols for society to banning them, as it tends to result in changed attitudes instead of suppressed counter-cultural behavior.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It was also a religious symbol that had nothing to do with Aryan ideals."

          Is, not was. Last year a got a wall hanging as a gift from a friend in India. It depicts Ganesh and has swastikas in the corners. Those swastikas are being used in their religious context and have nothing to do with Nazis.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sorrykb (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 8:24am

      Re:

      As long as the swastika is banned in Europe I cant really argue against this.

      You could, y'know, oppose both the banning of the swastika in some countries in Europe AND Russia's horrible homophobic policies. Just a thought.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      "As long as the swastika is banned in Europe I cant really argue against this."

      Why not? I have no problem arguing against both things, since they are really the same thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 29 Sep 2015 @ 1:12pm

    "You know what I blame this on the downfall of? Society." ~ Moe the Bartender

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 29 Sep 2015 @ 1:47pm

    And why exactly did we ever need anything beyond the round yellow "smiley" face anyway? A face is a face is a face as far as "emoji" go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:11pm

    Homophobia?

    Whenever I read statements about "homophobia" I wonder if there really is a "fear" of homosexuals.

    I do see homosexism, which, like racism, is "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different sexual orientation based on the belief that one's own sexual orientation is superior."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: Homophobia?

      Yes, it's fear. Fear tends to be the first instinct when encountering something you don't understand, and there's good reasons this instinct was selected for via evolution. Unfortunately, that instinct doesn't translate well into the modern world where you encounter unfamiliar things on a regular basis. And the way to get over this particular fear is through exposure to the actual thing - which provides that understanding - instead of whatever strawman argument is put up of it. It's even starting to work on the Republicans (albeit slowly).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Sep 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re: Homophobia?

      All prejudice is rooted in fear.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:18pm

    And yet, these guys have no issue with the Russian mob creating CP...

    :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:25pm

    Of course Homophobia is real.

    People aren't objectively supremacist; they acquire their supremacy though the culture they live in and the cultural values they believe and associate to themselves.

    Fear has been the driving factor behind much of public distaste for Homosexuality: ie: 'Homosexuals are all Pedophiles' and 'Homosexuals all inspire sin'.

    Something tells me you're a troll, so I'm done with this comment. Go back to The Internet Research Co.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 2:53pm

    Is the author just mad that Putin pwned Obama at the UN regarding all the people Obama got killed, maimed and displaced by fucking up Ukraine and Syria? That we're on the brink of nuclear annihilation again matters little compared to a few little laws he doesn't like, that although when he was a kid in the 80's, wouldn't even have needed a law for people to say this is ridiculous and it affected no one? Can it be possible that a high school of just 1400 students has zero people who are not straight in it?

    The rhetorical question at the end is kind of a trick question...it could evoke having to read the Russian law correctly through no american-media filters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 4:43pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Sep 29th, 2015 @ 2:53pm

      Oh look Putins internet troll army has shown up and vomited bullshit all over the page. I think I speak for all Techdirters here when I say "Piss off cunt."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 29 Sep 2015 @ 9:46pm

      Re:

      Bullshit law is bullshit (and makes you look afraid too), no matter the filters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2015 @ 10:11pm

      Re:

      This is rich even for a troll. The obviously incoherent relativism and the pointing to conservatistic ideological narrow-mindedness when it comes to history, doesn't really help.

      There is a single point where this post could have had some relevant critique for the OP, but it was missed entirely since the attack on non-nationalistic people was more important than reasoning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 29 Sep 2015 @ 9:05pm

    Does anyone else think the girl in pink doing karate on the bottom of that image is totally hot? How dare those Russian bastards deny us such awesome emoticons. No wonder they lost the cold war.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Klaus, 30 Sep 2015 @ 2:18am

      Re:

      "Does anyone else think the girl in pink doing karate on the bottom of that image is totally hot?"

      I thought she was doing ballet, but yes, totally hot..!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 29 Sep 2015 @ 10:38pm

    In Russia, Techdirt trolls you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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