Amazon has restricted search results and inventory related to LGBTQ topics in the United Arab Emirates after government pressured them to do so. reports The New York Times† Same-sex relationships and sexual acts are illegal in the UAE and are punishable by fines and jail time.
A number of books related to LGBTQ topics have been withdrawn from sale in the UAE (including Roxane Gay’s bad feminist and Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir), and search results are hidden for more than 150 keywords. These include broad search terms such as “lgbtq” and “proud,” as well as targeted searches such as “transgender flag” and “lesbian chest folder.”
The Time notes that it is not clear what penalties Amazon was threatened by the UAE government before it implemented these restrictions.
Nicole Pampe, an Amazon spokesperson, told the Time: “As a company, we remain committed to diversity, equality and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. With Amazon stores all over the world, we also have to comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”
The news comes days after Amazon’s hometown of Seattle held its annual Pride march over the weekend, highlighting the difficulties American tech companies face in embracing certain ideals on their own turf while adhering to international laws that violate international laws. these principles.
However, Amazon has also been criticized for its hypocritical approach to LGBTQ issues, including in the US. The nonprofit Seattle Pride group organizing the city’s Pride March recently severed ties with Amazon for his “support for anti-LGBTQIA+ politicians.” The group cited a number of political activities, including Amazon donations over $450,000 to lawmakers who voted against the Equality Act in 2020.
“We simply cannot partner with an organization that is actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics,” Seattle Pride said in a statement. The nonprofit’s executive director, Krystal Marx, also claimed that Amazon offered $100,000 to the group for a number of changes highlighting the company’s sponsorship, including renaming the parade to “Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon.”