Police officials in a region of Russia are investigating Apple on charges that the company is promoting “homosexual propaganda” with its emojis depicting same-sex couples and parents on iOS.
Local police in Russia’s Kirov region opened their inquiry into the same-sex emojis after a lawyer complained that Apple was violating a 2013 law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors, according to The Independent. If Apple were found guilty, it would face a fine of up to 1 million rubles, or about $15,260. A countrywide ban would be placed on Apple’s goods if the fine were to go unpaid.
While this is the first word of police involvement, there has been grumbling about the emojis in question for a number of months now. In April, St. Petersburg representative Vitaly Milonov urged Russia’s consumer rights body to ban iOS 8 if Apple did not create an alternative version without the LGBT emojis or market them with advisory stickers. Milonov argued that Apple already does something similar for China.
Last year, Milonov said Apple products should be banned in Russia because the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, is openly gay.
Same-sex-couple emojis, which are part of the official Unicode Emoji Subcommittee-approved list, were introduced to Apple users in iOS 6. In iOS 8.3, Apple introduced emojis of families with same-sex parents.