In Russia, a printing company has recently refused to print photos of Korean groups BTS and Stray Kids as they believed it would be interpreted as “gay propaganda.”
According to a recent story from the Russian Times, the PinkyPop Café in Ekaterinburg had ordered images of BTS and Stray Kids from a local print shop. The café was hoping to receive greeting cards, banners, and more as their café features a K-Pop theme. In a now-deleted Instagram story, the PinkyPop Café owners explained that the print shop was willing to complete their order until they saw the content.
We discussed all of the work and details, and placed our first order. [After they saw the photos of BTS and Stray Kids] they began to ignore us.
—The Owner of PinkyPop Café
However, the café was able to get in touch with the printing company after a while, and the company revealed its homophobia. They reportedly asked PinkyPop, “Do I understand correctly that these people have a non-traditional orientation?” The printer added that the group members weren’t “hiding their orientation” and once again refused to print it.
Allegedly, the printer continued on to ask if PinkyPop wanted “their children to become perverts” and stated that it was “stupid to support something that may leave you with no grandchildren.”
We have enough ‘normal’ clients to be able to choose who to work with and who not to.
—The Printing Company
Russia has always been a rather conservative country but has grown increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community over the years. Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted several anti-LGBTQ+ amendments, including banning marriage equality, banning transgender adoptions, and centering “a belief in God” as a core value of the country. Additionally, in the Nevsky district of St. Petersburg, school teachers were commanded to comb through the social media profiles of their students and write reports on those they suspected might be LGBTQ+ or their allies. Another example is when a Russian ice cream brand was accused of promoting “gay propaganda” because it sold rainbow-colored ice cream.
It currently remains unclear if PinkyPop has received its materials (either from that printing company or another) or if the printing company had any repercussions.