Russian homophobes furious over Facebook rainbow app


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg joined many in supporting LGBT Pride

A notoriously homophobic politician has called for Facebook to be blocked in Russia as the social media site exploded in rainbow colours this weekend to mark LGBT Pride.

Vitaly Milonov, a member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly and ardent supporter of laws to ban “gay propaganda”, expressed his outrage to the RSN radio station on Saturday.

“This is a flagrant violation of Russian law,” he ranted. “Facebook has no age limits, it is impossible to control how many minors are on there.”

Milonov added: “That is why it would be completely acceptable to pull the plug on Facebook in Russia.”

Facebook introduced a feature that allows its users to layer a rainbow over their profile pictures to show support for June as Pride month. Millions around the world made use of the tool this weekend after the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage.

Milonov has called on Russia’s telecommunications regulator to block Facebook in order to stop those “who wish harm to our homeland.” If it does not do so, he will take the matter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2014, Milonov demanded that Apple CEO Tim Cook be banned from the country after the business leader came out as gay.

He was also one of the champions of the city’s local gay propaganda law, which was later emulated through a similar federal law across the rest of Russia.

Proud homophobe Vitaly Milonov

Proud homophobe Vitaly Milonov

While Facebook has been widely lauded for its support for the LGBT community it continues to come under fire for not allowing drag performers and LGBT people wishing to use names other than their legal names on the site to avoid homophobia.

Meanwhile, a Russian graphic designer has responded to the rainbow app by creating an anti-gay online template allowing Facebook users to overlay the Russian flag on top of their profile pictures.

Rishat Shigapov told RSN that he developed the option because he is “for family values, after all.”

The few who’ve used the app have made clear their homophobic views, with comments such as “Give children the rainbow back!” and “#pridetobestraight”.

In June 2013, President Putin signed a federal law banning gay “propaganda” which has been used to restrict media freedom and music concerts, to ban gay Pride events and protests and has led to an increase in discrimination against LGBT people.


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