Ikea has removed a feature about a lesbian couple from its magazine in Russia due to the nation's anti-gay "homosexual propaganda" law, and now some are accusing the company of cowardice.
According to BuzzFeed, the Swedish furniture company yanked the story -- which was on British lesbians Clara and Kirsty, who live in a tiny London loft with their son and who are the women behind the blog My Two Mums -- from the December issue of the Ikea Family Live magazine. The company says it pulled the feature because of possible legal ramifications.
SCROLL TO READ CLARA AND KIRSTY'S FEATURE
"One of the conditions we have of running our business is that we have to follow the law in the markets where we operate," IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
The law she is referring to is Russia's "homosexual propaganda" measure, passed in June by an overwhelming majority. With a clause banning the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," this legislation stigmatizes gay people and prohibits minors from receiving any information about homosexuality, per The Associated Press. Companies that break this law could be fined up to 1 million rubles ($31,000).
Russia is Ikea's fifth best-selling country, with 14 stores throughout the nation, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sales in Russia represent 6 percent of the company's overall sales.
Apparently the story of the two moms raising their little boy in a space decorated with Ikea furniture wasn't suitable for the Russian version of the mag. Although some have called the move cowardice, Ikea claims it consulted with Russian lawyers before nixing the feature, according to The Guardian.
"That's the reason why Russia has another article," a spokeswoman for the company told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper, per The Guardian. "We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law."
This is not the first time Ikea has been criticized for changing its promotional material. Last year, images of women were deleted from Ikea's Saudi Arabia catalog. Questions were then raised about Ikea's commitment to gender equality, and the company later said it regretted the move.