LGBT Groups Ask Apple To Cut Ties With Russian Retailer After Creative Director Advocates Burning Gay People Alive

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook. Robert Galbraith / Reuters / Reuters

A coalition of Russian LGBT rights organizations have called on Apple to sever ties with a Russian distributor whose creative director recently called for incinerating LGBT people.

“I’d burn them all alive in ovens,” Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin, a creative director for Euroset, Russia’s biggest mobile phone distributor, said in December. “It’s Sodom and Gomorrah, as a religious person I can’t be indifferent to it, it’s a living threat to my children.”

In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and dated Jan. 5, 19 LGBT rights organizations urged Apple to “reconsider your business dealings with Euroset in light of these facts and set Apple as an example of a corporate citizen who supports basic human rights.” Euroset carries Apple products.

Euroset’s head, Alexander Malis, told the Russian outlet CNews that he would not respond to the protest letter because “we do not insult gay people and we are not to blame for them having been wronged.”

“We serve all people the same way, and are, in principle, against discrimination,” Malis added.

But the company declined to break with Okhlobystin when his comments were first reported. “Ivan expressed his personal opinion, and we will not fire him for that. Of course, we are opposed to burning someone in ovens,” Malis said, CNews reported.

Apple spokespeople did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Read the LGBT rights organizations’ letter to Apple


Correction: This story incorrectly said the letter was sent on Dec. 5. It was Jan. 5.

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