Amazon has restricted search results for LGBTQ+ related products like books and rainbow flags on its website in the United Arab Emirates.The online retail giant took the step after pressure from authorities in the Gulf state, the New York Times reported.
Same-sex sexual relationships are illegal in the UAE – one of 69 countries in the world that still has laws criminalising being gay.An Amazon spokesperson said that, as a company, ‘we remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected’.
However, they added: ‘With Amazon stores around the world, we must also comply with the local laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.’The Emirati government reportedly gave Amazon until the end of this week to comply with its demands or face penalties, the NYT said.
It was not clear what those penalties would be. According to documents seen by the newspaper, Amazon had its Restricted Products team take steps to remove individual product listings and hide results for more than 150 keywords.