The French-based Orange telecoms multinational has bowed to pressure to no longer advertise in Uganda’s notoriously homophobic Red Pepper tabloid.
After Orange ads were spotted on the Red Pepper website, the company was slammed for supporting the publication which has put gay and lesbian Ugandans in danger by gleefully outing them in its pages.
An All Out online petition calling for Orange to stop adverting with Red Pepper was signed by more than 77,000 people.
The company has now responded to the outrage through spokesperson Jean-Bernard Orsoni on Twitter. He stated that Orange Uganda advertises in most newspapers and radio stations in the country.
“By publishing an ad in a newspaper we do not endorse its editorial content and we obviously have no control over the editorial content of these publications,” he said.
He added: “However, the contract with Red Pepper ended on March 6, 2014 and it will not be extended until further notice.”
Andre Banks, co-founder of All Out, described the news as a victory for LGBT people. “Orange’s decision to withdraw their advertising and to explicitly support their LGBT employees should ring alarm bells for Ugandan politicians and business people about the impact this law could have on the national economy,” he said,
Since 2006, Red Pepper has repeatedly outed gays and lesbians, often revealing private information that would easily allow them to be found. It has been blamed for helping to fuel homophobic sentiment in Uganda. There have been reports that some of those exposed by Red Pepper have been attacked and harassed.
After President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act last month, the tabloid resumed its sensationalistic campaign against gay and lesbian Ugandans.