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LGBT Groups Ask Apple To Cut Ties With Russian Retailer After Creative Director Advocates Burning Gay People Alive

"We urge you to reconsider your business dealings with Euroset ... set Apple as an example of a corporate citizen who supports basic human rights," the groups wrote in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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A coalition of Russian LGBT rights organizations have called on Apple to sever ties with a Russian distributor whose creative director recently called for incinerating LGBT people.

"I'd burn them all alive in ovens," Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin, a creative director for Euroset, Russia's biggest mobile phone distributor, said in December. "It's Sodom and Gomorrah, as a religious person I can't be indifferent to it, it's a living threat to my children."

In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and dated Jan. 5, 19 LGBT rights organizations urged Apple to "reconsider your business dealings with Euroset in light of these facts and set Apple as an example of a corporate citizen who supports basic human rights." Euroset carries Apple products.

Euroset's head, Alexander Malis, told the Russian outlet CNews that he would not respond to the protest letter because "we do not insult gay people and we are not to blame for them having been wronged."

"We serve all people the same way, and are, in principle, against discrimination," Malis added.

But the company declined to break with Okhlobystin when his comments were first reported. "Ivan expressed his personal opinion, and we will not fire him for that. Of course, we are opposed to burning someone in ovens," Malis said, CNews reported.

Apple spokespeople did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Correction: This story incorrectly said the letter was sent on Dec. 5. It was Jan. 5.

J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211

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