IKEA has spiked a story about British lesbian couple Clara and Kirsty from the Russian version of its customer magazine. Photo: IKEA
Swedish furniture retailer IKEA says it has spiked an article about a lesbian couple in the Russian edition of its customer magazine because that would have contravened that county's law on gay propaganda.
IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson says the story about the couple living with their child in London appeared in the December print edition of its club magazine and was available for customers in 25 markets worldwide, but not in Russia.
Magnusson said Wednesday that due to the advice of legal experts, IKEA was not able to publish the article because Russian law "has restrictions regarding promoting homosexual relationships."
IKEA previously angered traditionalists in Italy when it featured two gay men on a billboard advertisement. Photo: IKEA
But gay rights activists in IKEA's founding country Sweden have branded the company "cowardly" for removing the article.
It’s not the first time the furniture giant has found itself in hot water. Last year, IKEA was criticized for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its furniture catalogue. The company later said it regretted the decision.
Still, the censorship seems to contradict the brand’s ethos. In 1994, IKEA released the first major television advertisement to feature a gay couple. Despite calls for a boycott, the company kept the ad on air, until a bomb threat was made against one of its New York stores.
In 2011, an IKEA print campaign in Italy featured two men holding hands with the words: "We are open to all families." The advertisement was criticized by conservatives concerned its message eroded traditional family values.
Today, Magnusson says the company has two guiding principles, as she told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: “The first is home interior design. The second is following the law.”
- with AP