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Russian Language 'IKEA Family Live' Magazine Cancelled To Avoid Violating Anti-Gay Propaganda Law

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Ikea is shuttering the Russian edition of Ikea Family Live, its popular online home and lifestyle magazine, for fear of violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda that criminalizes the production of images showing LGBT lifestyles in a positive light. While Ikea has been clear that its is still very much an ardent supporter of its gay customers’ rights, the company could be slapped with financial penalties or a three-month long cease-and-desist for the continued production of a Russian language version of the magazine.

Ikea first dealt with Russian censorship back in 2013 when the furniture giant chose to to edit an interview with an English lesbian couple out of the magazine under similar circumstances. At the time Ikea representatives cited their desire to operate in accordance with local laws. This time around however, the company’s decided to pull the plug entirely rather than capitulate.

“The magazine reflects the values of the Ikea company, including equal rights and opportunities for all,” Ikea representatives explained in an online statement in Russian. “We also consider our readers have the right to decide for themselves, what publications might be interesting or worthwhile for them.”

Ikea Family Live will continue to be published in other languages.


Russian LGBT Couples Stage Ikea Protest in Response to Company's Removal of Gay Magazine Article: VIDEO

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In response to Ikea's decision last week to remove a story about a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of its magazine, a group of Russian gay couples staged a "guerrilla photo shoot" inside a Brooklyn Ikea over the weekend. The Huffington Post reports:

The photo shoot was organized by Joseph Huff-Hannon, co-editor of the forthcoming book Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stores, Alexander Kargaltsev, a gay Russian artist and photographer who was recently granted asylum in the U.S., and Rusa LGBT co-founder Nina Long.

"Ikea calls themselves the 'life improvement' store, but we decided they have some major room for improvement after they deleted a lesbian couple form the Russian version of their catalog," Huff-Hannon told HuffPost Gay Voices in an email. It's a cause particularly close to Huff-Hannon, as his boyfriend, Artyom Matusov, was born in Moscow: "Ikea should stop insulting their LGBT customers in Russia and around the world, show some backbone, and publish the story in Russian."

Check out video and more photos from the protest shoot, AFTER THE JUMP... 

[photos via Alexander Kargaitsev]

Continue reading "Russian LGBT Couples Stage Ikea Protest in Response to Company's Removal of Gay Magazine Article: VIDEO" »


Ikea Removes Lesbian Article from Russian Edition of Magazine to Avoid Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law

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Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea has pulled a story about a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of its monthly magazine, The Guardian reports:

The December issue of the magazine, which will be distributed in most countries in which Ikea operates, contains a long feature about the lives of Clara and Kirsty, a Dorset-based lesbian couple and their Ikea-filled interiors. "We're two mums bringing up our baby boy in Clara's loft," says Kirsty in the story. "We're not your average family in your average home, but if my nan can raise two sons in a tiny caravan, we can make it work in our little loft."

Ikea said the removal of the article was to avoid prosecution under Russia's bans on 'gay propaganda':

A spokeswoman for Ikea confirmed to Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper that the article had been changed over fears it could fall foul of Russia's gay propaganda laws. "That's the reason why Russia has another article," she said. "We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law."

The WSJ adds:

Last year, the Swedish company—often seen as a corporate symbol of a Scandinavian nation known for its tolerance—was criticized for pulling back on marketing that may have ruffled sensibilities in particular markets.

In September 2012, for example, IKEA deleted a photo from its Russian corporate Web page showing four young people in balaclavas. The photo could have been seen as a gesture of support for the jailed members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot. The deleted photo was part of a Russian marketing campaign that included a photo competition in Russian MEGA shopping malls, which receive about 200 million visitors per year.

Less than a month later, the furniture company again caused controversy when it digitally removed women from versions of the IKEA catalog distributed in the Saudi Arabian market. The move was made because of cultural sensitivities, but Saudi Arabia's reputation for its treatment of women is seen as out of step with IKEA's commitment to equality, and the company quickly apologized for its action.

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