Tim Cook recently came out as gay. He’s the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and he’s leading the most valuable company in the world. Russia is increasingly becoming a country with limits on freedom, and Vladimir Putin has tightened his grip on the country. Two ways limits have been placed on the freedom of citizens and visitors in Russia is limits placed on free speech and on sexuality. Two consenting adults of the same sex cannot display signs of affection without risking arrest. Expressing your true self in public could mean jail time. Voicing your support for LGBT rights would definitely result in incarceration as well. With Tim Cook coming out as gay he’s become a beacon of hope for the LGBT community, desperate for acceptance. Russia, as the evil villian cliché they’ve become, had to do something to show their displeasure. Because Steve Jobs was the one who appointed Tim Cook, and because he believed in LGBT rights, a key monument for Steve Jobs has been removed. It was the only way they could lash out at Cook.
After the death of Steve Jobs, a monument to the innovator was erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The monument was a sort of living tribute to Jobs. It was an interactive display with various bits of information on his life. It was designed by Gleb Tarasov, who dubbed it the “Sunny QR Code”. The monument allowed visitors to explore the life of Jobs on a touch screen, mounted on a device that looked like an iPhone.
Russian politician Vitaly Milonovo made ignorant remarks after Tim Cook came out. He started by proclaiming that Tim Cook should be banished from all of Russia, solely for being gay and a public figure. He even went on to make bigoted remarks, claiming that Tim Cook could bring ebola, AIDS, and gonorrhea to Russia (a country already rife with the latter two diseases listed). His motives are based in ignorance, nothing more. However, he’s a powerful politician in Russia, and as such, he’s able to shape the law and even public opinion.
This is exactly why Tim Cook decided to come out in the first place, to fight bigots like Milonovo, and repression, like that seen under Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia. With a successful person like Tim Cook supporting equality, he has an opporunity to educate the ignorant and influence political opinion, even in countries like Russia that have taken a step backwards on citizens’ rights.