A Russian man is demanding one million rubles ($22,800 AUD) in damages from Apple, claiming that an iPhone app has turned him gay, according to a complaint seen by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The plaintiff, D. Razumilov, filed a lawsuit for moral harm in a Moscow court, demanding the payout after an incident this past Russian summer in which a cryptocurrency called GayCoin was delivered to him via a smartphone app, instead of the Bitcoin he had ordered.
Razumilov claims he was “mired in same-sex relationships” this year after receiving 69 ‘GayCoins’ in a cryptocurrency application from an anonymous sender, with a message that reportedly said: “Don’t judge without trying.”
The lawyer representing Razumilov, Sapizhat Gusnieva, insisted the case was “serious”, telling AFP that her client was “scared” and had “suffered”.
Razumilov claimed that being in a gay relationship since the cryptocurrency scandal has brought him “moral suffering and harm to mental health”.
“I thought, indeed, how can I judge something without trying it? And decided to try same-sex relationships,” Razumilov stated in a court document obtained by The Moscow Times.
“I can say after the passage of two months that I’m mired in intimacy with a member of my own sex and can’t get out.
“I have a steady boyfriend and I don’t know how to explain it to my parents. After receiving the aforementioned message, my life has changed for the worse and will never be normal again.”
Razumilov blamed Apple for his situation, claiming the global business giant “manipulated” his sexuality.
“Apple pushed me towards homosexuality through manipulation. The changes have caused me moral and mental harm.”
Apple’s representatives in Russia did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.
Gusnieva said the US tech giant “has a responsibility for their programs”, despite the alleged exchange taking place on a third-party app.
The suit, filed last month, was registered at Moscow’s Presnensky District Court last week, with Razumilov set to appear for an interview with the court on Thursday, 17 October.
Russia and neighbouring nations are notorious for widespread homophobia, with reports of human rights violations and hate crimes against LGBTIQ people commonplace.
In 2013, Moscow introduced a law against “gay propaganda”, which officially bans the “promotion of non-traditional lifestyles to minors” but in effect outlaws LGBT activism.
Six years on, the Russian LGBTIQ community faces similar challenges.
In June this year, the mayor of a Russian town agreed to hold a gay pride parade, but later reversed the approval because children might witness the event.
The mayor of Strezhovoy told gay rights activist Nikolay Alexeev that he agreed to hold the march, which was scheduled for 24 July. However, the mayor later sent Alexeev a letter saying they were withdrawing permission on account of a law to protect children.
The letter, according to local publication VTOMSKE, said that the parade had been banned “in order to protect children from information that promotes the rejection of traditional family values”.