A giant iPhone monument was removed from a university campus in St Petersburg, Russia, possibly for fear that it went against Russia’s ban on homosexual propaganda to minors after Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as a gay man.
On Monday, conflicting reports about the monument, a tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs, emerged in Russian media.
According to a statement attributed to ZEFS, the company that sponsored the monument at ITMO University in 2013, it was “dismantled in line with Russia’s federal law protecting children from information that propagandizes the rejection of traditional family values.”
Another statement from the university, however, said the decision to remove the statue was made before Cook revealed his sexual orientation last week.
“There’s an official letter from ZEFS saying they’re dismantling it for renovation,” a spokesman for the university told Russia’s TASS news agency.
The university reportedly planned to issue another statement to clarify why the monument was removed -- though that could not immediately be confirmed.
The incident came on the heels of a prominent St Petersburg lawmaker, and original sponsor of the legislation that inspired Russia’s gay propaganda ban, declaring that Cook should be banned from Russia because he is gay.
Apple products are wildly popular among Russia’s jet set. Many pay thousands of dollars to get the new iPhone the day they go on sale in the United States and Europe because there is no Apple Store here. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev is an ardent Apple fan and was recently photographed with a new iPhone 6.