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Apple's Pride-themed watch face is blocked in Russia

The rainbow-inspired design breaks Russia's anti-gay laws.
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Russia's not made any secret of its stance on the LGBTQ+ community. It's banned comics, gotten rid of statues and has taken issue with gay emojis, all in the name of its "gay propaganda" law, passed in 2013. Now, companies that want to operate in the country and are otherwise advocates for LGTBQ+ rights are being forced to fall in line. As iOS developer Guilherme Rambo recently discovered, Apple's Pride-themed Apple Watch face has been "hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale."

The Pride watch face was first introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference back in June, inspired by the rainbow flag and designed to stand against discrimination, part of what Apple calls its "unwavering commitment to equality and diversity." But since its launch users on Reddit and Apple support forums have questioned its absence in Russia. According to The Verge, if you're using an iPhone with the latest iOS 12 beta, the watch face disappears if you switch to the Russian locale.

Russia's "gay propaganda" law -- which has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights -- threatens hefty fines and even imprisonment for those perpetuating what it deems to be offensive speech. So Apple's decision not to offer the Pride watch face is likely its attempt at avoiding legal ramifications, rather than any show of support for the law -- we've reached out to Apple for comment. Other companies have made clear their position on Russia's attitudes, though. During the Winter Olympic Games in the country during 2014, Google's homepage featured a pride-themed Google Doodle and the Olympic Charter, which makes clear discrimination is not welcome at the Games.

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