If the CEO of a company announces he's gay, does that mean his predecessor and his products were gay too?
The head of the St. Petersburg-based ZEFS holding company is not taking any chances.
According to Russian media reports, Maksim Dolgopolov, whose company sponsored the installation of a 2-meter-high iPhone replica with Steve Jobs' likeness in a university courtyard, has ordered the monument taken down because it may be in violation of a Russian law on homosexual "propaganda."
"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly encouraged sodomy, the monument was taken down in accordance with federal law," the company said in a press release posted on the Ekho Moskvy website.
The unveiling of the monument in January 2013:
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The monument being dismantled:
Last year, Russia's State Duma unanimously passed legislation penalizing the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
Tim Cook replaced Apple founder Jobs -- then suffering from terminal cancer -- as the company's CEO in 2011. On October 30, he announced in "Bloomberg Businessweek" that he's gay.
Dolgopolov's comments follow those by St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov, who said that Cook should be banned from Russia.
But the head of public relations for St. Petersburg's National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics, and Optics, where the monument was placed, has denied that Cook's sexuality was the reason for the iPhone removal.
A letter from ZEFS saying the product would be taken down for repairs was received "before Tim Cook's statements," spokesman Kirill Aleksandrov said, according to Russia's TASS news agency.
RFE/RL was unable to reach ZEFS for comment.
-- Glenn Kates