Bad news, IKEA fans: in most countries, your favorite prefab furniture company is more than happy to take your money; but say hello to them in Russia and they’ll pretend they don’t know who you are.
A company spokeswoman confirmed to a Swedish newspaper that the company has erased a lesbian couple from the Russian version of their catalog. (No word on what replaced them — maybe a hastily photoshopped image of Stalin hanging out with friends?)
According to the company, lawyers were concerned that depicting a happy queer couple would run afoul of the country’s antigay propaganda laws. You know, the same ones that Putin keeps insisting won’t hurt anyone, and only exist for the protection of children. Because heaven forbid the children see any strong, happy, healthy families amongst the medium-density fiberboard. And it’s not like purging entire demographic groups has ever gone poorly in Russia in the past.
If we had to come to IKEA’s defense, we might ask what choice they really had. After all, if they want to do business in a country, they have to follow the law. In essence, they’re “just following orders” — another historical reference with absolutely no negative baggage whatsoever.
Some alternatives that IKEA might have considered:
- Leave the lesbians in but don’t identify them as lesbians, since some representation is better than nothing
- Pledge to donate a portion of their Russian revenue to global LGBT civil rights initiatives
- Publicly denounce the clearly unconscionable law
- Troll the homophobes by filling the catalog exclusively with lesbians
Anyway, what are you going to do, stop shopping at IKEA? Haha, yeah right. Keep politely pestering those giants, gay gnats, they’ll notice you any day now.