Amazon has restricted items and search results related to LGBT issues on its website in the United Arab Emirates, despite the woke e-commerce giant celebrating “Pride Month” in the western world.
The New York Times reports that earlier this week, Amazon moved to restrict items and search results related to LGBT people on its website in the United Arab Emirates. The move comes after the company faced pressure from the UAE government, according to company documents seen by the NYT.
FILE – A man waves the national flag during celebrations for the UAE 50th National Day (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
The UAE government reportedly gave Amazon a deadline of Friday to comply or face penalties. It was unclear what those penalties would be, but Amazon appeared to take the threat seriously. Homosexuality is criminalized in the UAE and is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
A number of woke tech firms have made concessions to foreign governments in recent years, Netflix has pulled shows in Saudi Arabia or censored them in countries like Vietnam, while Apple has stored customer data on Chinese servers despite its alleged dedication to privacy. Google also removed an app by a Russian opposition leader from its Google Play Store last year following threats of prosecution in the country.
Amazon has now instructed its Restricted Products team to remove individual product listings and told a team managing the company’s search function to hide the results of more than 150 keywords, according to internal documents.
The search terms include lgbtq,” “pride,” “closeted gay,” “transgender flag,” “queer brooch,” “chest binder for lesbians,” and “lgbtq iphone case.” A number of specific books were also banned including My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi; Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe; and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist.
An Amazon spokesperson told the NYT: “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. With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.”