Mark Burgsel / EyeEm / Getty
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – E-Commerce Giant Amazon Is blocking LGBTQ-related product search results on the United Arab Emirates website following a series of backlashes against same-sex themes in the Gulf region.
Amazon made the decision under pressure from UAE authorities. UAE officials threatened to impose penalties and gave them a request to limit search results for LGBTQ-themed material until Friday. this is, New York TimesThe person who first reported the story.
“In response to contact from Emirates, Amazon has taken steps to remove individual product lists from a restricted product team, and the team that manages the company’s search capabilities has hidden the results of over 150 keywords,” Times said. Is writing in the report. These keywords include “lgbtq,” “pride,” “closeted gay,” “transgender flag,” and more, the report said.
Searching for “LGBT” and “LGBTQ” on Amazon’s UAE site on Friday, July 1st did not give any results. However, when I searched for “pride,” I found some rainbow-themed items, such as notebooks, shirts, and phone cases with the word “pride.” The unwritten rainbow flag was still available.
The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment at the time of writing.
The news follows Pride Month. It is celebrated in countries around the world, but not in the overwhelmingly Muslim religiously conservative Gulf. Homosexuality is a crime in the United Arab Emirates and can be punished by fines and imprisonment.
Amazon described the decision as being made to comply with local law.
“As a company, we continue to work on diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe we need to protect the rights of LGBTQ + people,” an Amazon spokeswoman told CNBC in an email.
“Amazon stores around the world must also comply with local laws and regulations in the countries in which they operate.”
Earlier this month the UAE announced a ban Disney A short scene featuring same-sex kisses from Pixar’s movie “Lightyear” from the theater, including gay characters. Many countries in the Middle East and South Asia have done the same.
An Instagram post celebrating Pride Month from the US Embassy page in the United Arab Emirates in early June also sparked fierce opposition from locals.
This is the second year that US diplomatic missions in the Gulf countries have publicly commemorated Pride Month and gay rights. In 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi raised the flag of Rainbow Pride, causing criticism from prominent Emiratis who was angry at many saying they did not respect law, religion and values. ..
The US Embassy in the United Arab Emirates did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The United Arab Emirates has been working for years to establish itself as a modern and tolerant shelter in an otherwise very conservative region. The oil-rich desert emirate is home to 90% of the foreign population, drinking alcohol, wearing bikinis on public beaches, and incorporating other cultural elements that are banned in Islamic countries. can do.
Last year, the country passed a number of modernization reforms, including the denialization of premarital sex, the end of film censorship in theaters, and the transition from an Islamic weekend (Friday to Saturday) to a Saturday to Sunday weekend. I did. It is globally competitive and attracts additional foreign investment and talent.
The nightclub resembles that of Europe, regularly hosting concerts by well-known rappers and pop stars, and last year eased some drug law penalties. In 2016, we established the Ministry of Tolerance.
But homosexuality is still taboo.