Ikea dumps lesbians due to Russia anti-gay law


Ikea dumps lesbians due to Russia anti-gay law
Ikea’s interview with Clara and Kirsty can’t be read by customers in Russia. Photo: Ikea Live
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has been slammed for removing an interview with a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of a customer magazine, citing Russia’s law prohibiting “gay propaganda”.
By:David Landes /The Local
The interview between Clara and Kirsty from Dorset in the UK appears in the latest edition of Ikea Live, a magazine distributed to the company’s customers in Europe enrolled in the company’s Ikea Family customer loyalty program.
But when an online version of the magazine was published on the company’s Russian website, there was no sign of Clara or Kirsty or their story.
The reason? Russia’s law banning “gay propaganda”, Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson confirmed.
“That’s the reason why Russia has another article,” she told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
“We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law.”
She explained the decision was taken jointly by staff in Russia and Sweden in an attempt to “remain neutral”.
“We think that our operations in Russia can, in the long run, have a positive effect on society,” she added.
But the move was characterized as “cowardly” by gay rights activists in Sweden.
“I find it disappointing that Ikea has simply laid down flat,” Ulrika Westerlund, chair of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), told The Local.
Back in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”.
Critics of the law have argued that its vague wording in effect outlaws any form of expression of LGBT rights, including Pride parades, holding hands or kissing in public.
Westerlund explained that Ikea “missed an opportunity” to put the law to the test and position itself as a leader in corporate social responsibility when it comes to gay rights.
“No one is really sure what ‘propaganda’ is and if Ikea had left the article in, that could have served as a test case,” she said.
The new law has cast a shadow over the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi with some international gay rights groups calling for a boycott. This call has however been rejected by some Russian LGBT activists who argue that it is counter-productive.

Swedish high-jumper Emma Green Tregaro caused a storm of controversy recently when she painted her nails in rainbow colours at the World Athletics Championships in a “silent protest” against the Russian law.

Westerlund also didn’t buy Ikea’s argument that the company could serve as a force for good in Russia by simply maintaining operations there.
“What difference does it make if they don’t stand up for their values when it counts?” she added.

 

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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