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'Gay' Apple Emojis Investigated in Russia

Apple Gay Emoji

Russian media outlets say Apple is under investigation for its emojis that depict same-sex characters holding hands and kissing, as a potential violation of the country's laws against "illegally promoting homosexuality," London's Telegraph reported Monday.

The new emojis are built into Apple’s iOS mobile operating system starting with version 8.3. They show characters of the same gender holding hands, hugging, and kissing.

A lawyer in Russia's Kirov region called for the investigation, arguing that Apple's emoji icons break the law.

If Apple is found guilty it could be fined the Russian equivalent of as much as $15,000 and sales of its products could be suspended in the country for three months, according to the Telegraph.

This isn't the first trouble for the company in Russia. Last year St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov suggested that Apple products be banned and gay Apple CEO Tim Cook be barred from visiting the country.

As The Advocate reported, Milonov was recently honored by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his work, which included the crackdown on so-called gay propaganda — he was behind a St. Petersburg law that became the model for the national one.

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