Censorship | Russia

IKEA Issues Press Release Combating Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Ikea

The latest issue of IKEA FAMILY LIVE, the Swedish furniture store's magazine to their customers, featured an article on lesbian couple Kirsty and Clara who live with their daughter in England and was seen in 24 of the 25 countries where the magazine is distributed. The holdout was, of course, Russia where the anti-gay "propaganda" laws have made it a crime to be published. 

IKEA change-org bannerRUSA LGBT, a group of Russian-speaking LGBTQ Americans, started a change.org petition to protest the "erasure" of LGBT families and presently have over 45,000 signatures. The delivery of these signatures to the IKEA offices in Conshohocken, PA was enough to get the attention of IKEA Policy & Compliance Manager Greg Priest who posted a public statement in the online issue of IKEA FAMILY LIVE and on the Change.org petition which states that states in part (bolding mine): 

We are guided by our vision – to help create a better everyday life for the many people.  We also believe you can be yourself as an IKEA co-worker, an IKEA customer or in your home. We do our best to stand for equal opportunities and support the human rights of all people. And every co-worker can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age.

Because of the online nature of the digital version of the magazine even subscribers in Russia will see IKEA's explicit support of LGBT customers and employees.

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Comments

  1. IKEA is indeed a corporate friend of LGBT people.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 19, 2014 8:58:16 AM


  2. Omitting the article in Russia is the biggest mistake IKEA could make - it demonstrates their fear of financial loss over the rights and freedoms of their own customers. IKEA is a joke, scrambling madly in an attempt to repair a once appealing and positive reputation and the article does not fix the problem. The failure to publish the article in Russia only acerbates their situation. Buy nothing from IKEA.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Jan 19, 2014 11:27:24 AM


  3. Criticisms of Ikea are so unfair. It's so typical for a faction of the LGBT community to attack allies that aren't EXACTLY how they want to be. (cough, Jared Leto)How many major companies don't represent same-sex couples AT ALL! in ANY country. Ikea probably pulled the couple in Russian because they legally had to. Save your energy for the IOC who is completely to blame, the Russian government, NBC and the sponsors like Coke. If gay establishments had any ethics they'd all stop serving Coke but that's slightly more inconvenient than scapegoating a Russian vodka that has nothing to do with it.

    Posted by: andy | Jan 19, 2014 11:41:31 AM


  4. @ANDY: Fortunately the mostly leftist ideologues are only a tiny fraction of the LGBT Community. The overwhelming majority of LGBT folks know that IKEA is a good friend.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 19, 2014 12:23:09 PM


  5. Stop accusing every attractive straight person of being secretly gay...that might help...

    Posted by: Ankerich | Jan 19, 2014 12:30:35 PM


  6. Andy,
    Ikea did not have to pull anything. The law does not explain what propaganda is. So, it's questionable that even a Russian court would find a neutral article talking about a lesbian couple with kids "gay propaganda." And even if it did, Ikea could take it all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights, which has found for freedom of speech and thought and against discrimination before, would, surely, rule for Ikea and against the Russia's law again.

    And, in the worst case, Ikea would pay a fine of under $15,000. By the time, the complaint would potentially force Ikea to pull the print materials, all of them would be gone thanks to the news of the lesbian story.

    Posted by: Victor | Jan 19, 2014 1:33:59 PM


  7. "Because of the online nature of the digital version of the magazine even subscribers in Russia will see IKEA's explicit support of LGBT customers and employees."

    How do we know that? For any serious website, different countries necessarily receive different online content, at least due to language and other locale differences. Because the infrastructure allows this, it permits serving different data for any purpose. The server doesn't care.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 19, 2014 2:39:35 PM


  8. @Victor: Are you an international trade lawyer? Just because you think this would only cost IKEA $15k doesn't make it true.

    As you wrote, the law is not clear. What would stop Russia from claiming that the fine is $15k for each magazine sent to a Russia address? If they have (hypothetical) 2,500 subscribers, that fine just became $37.5 million.

    Instead of expecting for-profit companies to knowingly violate the laws of a sovereign nation to advance human rights, why not just say "thank you" to IKEA for doing as much as they did?

    Posted by: alex | Jan 19, 2014 9:40:23 PM


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