Online shopping giant Amazon restricts search results for LGBTI products on its website in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company has decided to do this because it has been pressured by the authorities in the Gulf state. Sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal in the Emirates.
The Emirates government had given Amazon until Friday to comply with its demands. If not, sanctions followed. It is not clear what those would be, writes The New York Times.
The search terms that have been banned vary. More than 150 keywords now yield no results, including general terms such as ‘pride’ and ‘closet gay’, as well as specific assignments for products such as ‘transgender flag’ and ‘lgbti-iphone case’, the paper reads that documents.
Rainbow colored toys
“As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equality and inclusion, and we believe that LGBTQ+ rights must be protected,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to The New York Times. “With Amazon stores around the world, we also need to comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”
Tech companies are more likely to make compromises in order to continue trading in strictly religious and conservative countries. Netflix removed an episode of a show after complaints from Saudi Arabia, and at the Kremlin’s request, Apple and Google removed an election app belonging to Russian opposition leader Navalny according to Dutch Times.
Earlier this month, it was announced that authorities in Saudi Arabia are confiscating rainbow-colored toys and clothing for allegedly promoting homosexuality. In Saudi Arabia, severe penalties for homosexual relations and acts, up to the death penalty, are imposed.
In April, the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was also banned from showing in the strict Islamic kingdom. Presumably that was because two kissing women can be seen in it. The film cannot be seen in the Emirates either.
Disney ‘s new animation film Lightyear met the same fate: in several conservative countries the film has been banned or censored because of a kiss between two women.