When iOS 8.3 introduced new gay-friendly emojis, one person no doubt responding with a :( sad face was Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin’s not taking it lying down, however. According to Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor, the President has requested a full pro-Kremlin group investigation and crackdown on same sex emojis, concerned that they violate the country’s ban on “gay propaganda.”
Because if there’s one thing proven to make you trade girlfriends for boyfriends, it’s someone sending you a picture of two male smiley faces holding hands.
In the words of Maxim Ksenzov Mikhael Marchenko, deputy head of Roskomnadzor, gay emojis represent, “the spread on social media of untraditional sexual relations among minors” that “denies family values” and “forms disrespect for parents and other family members.”
This isn’t the first time Apple has been caught in the crossfire of Russia’s anti-gay fanaticism. In April this year, Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov claimed Apple was distributing gay pornography with its giveaway of the U2 Songs of Innocence album — because the album cover depicted band member Larry Mullen Jr. hugging his shirtless 18-year-old son around the waist.
A “bug” in the Russian version of Siri (thought to be the result of handing over work to a third-party Russian programmer) also resulted in Apple’s personal assistant giving homophobic responses to questions about LGBT issues — although this has now been fixed.
We guess the forthcoming emoji movie won’t be showing at the Kremlin any time soon!