Russian food retailer VkusVill apologizes for ‘hurtful’ ad for LGBT family


Russian organic grocer VkusVill has drawn its promotional material featuring an LGBT family and replaced it with an apology within a week of posting it.

Social media users would have raided VkusVill and the gay family’s accounts with death threats after their story aired on Wednesday as part of a series highlighting the chain’s repeat customers. On Sunday, the URL for the ad article contained a contrite post signed by VkusVill founder Andrei Krivenko and senior executives.

“We view this post as our mistake, which is the result of the unprofessional nature of some employees,” VkusVill wrote in its apology.

VkusVill said the original commercial that sparked an explosion of threats and outrage from conservative groups “hurt the feelings of many of our customers, employees, partners and suppliers.”

The retail chain’s decision to remove the original ad has sparked outrage from social media users who have defended its disregard of Russian law against “gay propaganda” that makes public posting of LGBT content illegal.

“Members of the LGBT + community have been under pressure from a homophobic society their entire lives, and VkusVill couldn’t take it for even a few days,” said one Russian user. tweeted.

“Can I, as a regular customer and as an LGBT person, perceive my subsequent appearance in the walls of the store as a mistake of the employees who let me in?” I don’t know, ”the russiaforgays Instagram account wrote.

As part of a regular series highlighting families who shop in the chain, VkusVill featured a “matriarch”, her partner and her two daughters who practice ethical veganism, support fair trade and provide shelter to LGBT people who struggle to be accepted into their own families. .

At the time, the chain of stores said it would be “hypocritical” to omit the family history and marked the piece with an “18+” label to comply with Russian law against ” gay propaganda against minors ”.

In apologies, VkusVill wrote, “Our business goal is to enable our customers to receive fresh and delicious produce every day, and not to post articles that reflect political or social views.

Law enforcement authorities have yet to comment on VkusVill’s initial post. Previously, prosecutors attempted to bring misdemeanor charges against Dolce & Gabbana, which showed kisses same sex couples in an Instagram ad.

Western countries and human rights activists have criticized Russia’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law, as well as the 2020 constitutional amendments that contain a clause defining marriage as between a man and a woman only.