News (World)

Russia investigates Duolingo for spreading “traumatizing” LGBTQ+ content

Duolingo Logo
Duolingo Logo Photo: Duolingo

The Russian federal watchdog group responsible for rooting out “gay propaganda” in the country’s media has received a new complaint about a possible “distribution of information that promotes LGBT.”

Radetel, a group of self-appointed Russian snitches on a mission to protect “public morality, culture, and traditional values,” has told the agency that language app Duolingo is turning users gay.

News outlet Novaya Gazeta reports Radetel shared two screenshots of Duolingo English exercises, one that uses the word “lesbian”, and another that uses the word “gay.”

The Russian watchdog group, Roskomnadzor, or RKN, confirmed to the state-run TASS news service that it is “checking the application for the dissemination of information promoting LGBT people.”

The investigation follows a recent Russian Supreme Court ruling, at the request of President Vladimir Putin’s Ministry of Justice, that a so-called “international public LGBT movement” is an extremist group and a threat to the country’s national security.

U.S.-based Duolingo readily acknowledges its inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and stories in their lessons.

The popular app, which teaches over 40 languages to more than 60 million users worldwide, includes “everyday depictions of LGBTQ+ life” that “show queer people living their lives in an unsensationalized and normal way,” according to their website.

“Duolingo believes deeply in diversity and representation,” it continues. “This made it a no-brainer to include all types of characters of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.”

In their complaint, Radetel refers to gay people as “sodomites” and says “outraged” parents brought the LGBTQ+ “propaganda” to their attention. They described the gay content as “traumatizing”.

It’s not the first time Duolingo’s LGBTQ+ inclusion has outraged the haters.

The app was targeted last year by the wildly anti-LGBTQ+ New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement (New IFB). Pastors affiliated with the church regularly use anti-LGBTQ+ slurs and call for violence against LGBTQ+ people.

“Duolingo has been infiltrated by, by homosexuals!” Pastor Danil Kutsar roared in a sermon last March.

“It has been infiltrated by fa***ts, so you gotta be careful,” he advised before ranting about all corners of the internet being infected by vice.

“I’m sure that every game out there has been fa***t-ized, you know? Ha ha ha. I’m sure every game out there, they have put fa***ts in there, they put whores in there, they put drugs and murder, and that stuff is not gonna help you.”

Kutsar noted in the same sermon he’s an avid Duolingo user. He’s also said he hopes “every homosexual dies.”

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