In case anyone forgets: Pride support has its limits for businesses.
While Apple regularly brandishes its “unwavering commitment to equality and diversity” in highly-produced LGBTQI Pride videos, the company – apparently – has its limits, with its Pride Apple Watch face hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.
As its is, Apple support forum users have been questioning the lack of a Pride watch face in Russia. The company – helmed by an openly gay man himself, CEO Tim Cook – first introduced its Pride Apple Watch face during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, drawing inspiration from the rainbow flag to celebrate LGBTQI Pride and stand against discrimination of LGBTQI people.
But tested on an iPhone running the latest iOS 12 beta, the Pride watch face simply disappears once a user switches to a Russian location.
In 2013, Russia implemented a “gay propaganda” law that – according to the European Court of Human Rights – reinforces prejudice and encourages homophobia. The law comes with the threat of jail time and fines for what Russia deems to be offensive speech.
With the non-appearance of the Pride-related product, Apple seems to be avoiding this particular legal quandary.
Apple sells a special Pride edition Apple Watch strap, donating a portion of the proceeds toward LGBTQI advocacy organizations. But the same product is also not available in Russia, one of the countries with worsening LGBTQI-related situations and where the support is most needed.
With this, the company worth about $945 billion in June highlights many companies’ “we support you… but only to an extent” approach to LGBTQI Pride. Just this August, for instance, Unilever in the Philippines started to offer a 20-day paid leave for fathers, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners and paid absences for adoptive parents. But the company has also been accused of putting profit before the human rights of LGBTQIA people – e.g. Unilever North Africa Middle East has production facilities in countries such as Tunisia and Algeria, where – according to a 2015 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association – homosexual activity continues to be illegal.