Amazon bows down to UAE's crackdown on homosexuality, limits LGBTQ+ search results

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Riyadh, United Arab Emirates Updated: Jun 30, 2022, 10:35 PM(IST)

According to the document accessed by NYT, the Emirati government gave Amazon until Friday to comply or face penalties. What those punishments would have been, however, remained unclear. Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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Search results for 150 plus keywords including broad terms like 'LGBTQ', 'Pride' and targeted searches like 'Transgender flag' and 'chest binder for lesbians' have been removed

Bowing to pressure, Amazon has restricted search results and inventory related to LGBTQ+ topics and products in the United Arab Emirates. As per a report by the New York Times, a number of books related to the community have been removed from sale in the UAE. Additionally, search results for 150 plus keywords including broad terms like "LGBTQ", "Pride" and targeted searches like "Transgender flag" and "chest binder for lesbians" have been removed. This move comes as Pride month, an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ individuals around the world, is coming to a close. In the United Arab Emirates, it is against the law to be homosexual. UAE is one of 69 nations worldwide with laws outlawing homosexuality.

Watch | LGBTQI+: Bias and Discrimination | WION Wideangle

In a statement, Nicole Pampe, an Amazon spokeswoman, said: "As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people must be protected."

However, Pampe added that "with Amazon stores around the world" the company "must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate."

According to the document accessed by NYT, the Emirati government gave Amazon until Friday to comply or face penalties. What those punishments would have been, however, remained unclear.

Also read | 'Homosexuality' crackdown in Saudi Arabia: Authorities seize rainbow toys

UAE's crackdown on homosexuality isn't new.

Recently, according to a report by state TV Al Ekhbariya, authorities in Saudi Arabia also seized rainbow-coloured toys and children's apparel on the grounds that they promote homosexuality. According to the report, representatives from the commerce ministry confiscated a variety of merchandise from stores in the capital, Riyadh, including hats, skirts, T-shirts, hair clips, and pencil bags.

Also read | Pride Month: LGBTQIA+ icons, trailblazers you need to know

Additionally, Saudi Arabia has outlawed movies that feature or even hint at sexual minorities. The kingdom said in April that it had requested Disney remove "LGBTQ references" from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Marvel movie, but Disney had refused. 

Saudi Arabia and more than a dozen other nations have also outlawed Disney's most recent animated film, Lightyear, which depicts a same-sex kiss.

(With inputs from agencies)

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