A Russian court has fined Google partly for refusing to remove LGBTQ+ YouTube videos. The tech company has been ordered to pay three million rubles, or about $38,570.
Prosecutors in Russia accused Google of spreading “LGBT propaganda” in violation of its ban on LGBTQ+ content. The fine was also levied against Google for spreading “false information” about Russia’s unprovoted invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.
Russia’s ban on LGBTQ+ propaganda – or the law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating a Denial of Traditional Family Values” – was passed in 2013 and was expanded in 2022. It originally just banned discussing homosexuality and same-sex relationships in front of children but was extended to any such discussion in front of other people of any age group.
Their definition of LGBTQ+ propaganda includes anything that “raises interest in” same-sex relationships, causes people to “form non-traditional sexual predispositions,” or says that LGBTQ+ relationships have as much value as heterosexual relationships.
Russian authorities had asked Google to remove several YouTube videos, including one about same-sex couples raising children, which Moscow said was made by a “foreign agent,” and another about LGBTQ+ people in St. Petersburg.
Earlier this year, a German teacher visiting the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was convicted of violating the ban on LGBTQ+ propaganda when he invited a Russian man to have sex at his hotel room. He got deported.
In March, the same law was used to prosecute a young male bi-national couple who are popular content creators on the TikTok video-sharing platform. It’s unclear if the couple was prosecuted for publishing gay-related content online or for some other reason. After their arrest, the couple relocated outside of the country — leaving their homes, jobs, and possessions. The member of the couple, who is a Russian native, has a court date scheduled in Russia on May 11, according to the couple’s Telegram account.