Target: Ikea CEO Peter Agnefjäll
Goal: Demand that company acknowledge their discriminatory decision to remove lesbian couple’s interview from the Russian edition of their company magazine, and reinstate the interview
The most recent publication of the Ikea Live magazine, which is sent out to all of the global company’s recognized loyalty customers, featured the charming story of a lesbian couple from Dorset, England: “We’re two mums bringing up our baby boy in Clara’s loft. We’re not your average family in your average home, but if my nan can raise two sons in a tiny caravan, we can make it work in our little loft.” In the Russian version of this magazine, however, this spread has been replaced by a story about a single Chinese designer, due to the new Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda,” which has been globally contested during the planning stages of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.
According to Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson, the company made this move in an attempt to “remain neutral” in the midst of the hubbub. She continued, “We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law…We think that our operations in Russia can, in the long run, have a positive effect on society.” Unfortunately, it is clear from Ikea’s actions that all they care about is their bottom line, and keeping their foothold in Russia, which is the company’s fifth best-selling country according to The Independent. Because the company had to take steps to remove the spread from the magazine unprompted by Russian officials, whoever made that decision preemptively censored the magazine and prevented it from taking a stand on behalf of marginalized individuals. That’s not a neutral stance; Ikea has declared their allegiance with Russia’s anti-gay laws by taking this action – a surprising move for a company that purports to hold true to its progressive Scandinavian roots, and that in 1994 became the first company worldwide to put a gay couple at the center of a television commercial.
By signing this petition, you are calling on CEO Peter Agnefjäll to commit once again to Ikea’s original progressivism. You are urging him to acknowledge this decision as discriminatory, and to reverse it by including the original spread in the Russian edition of Ikea Live magazine.
Dear CEO Peter Agnefjäll,
I am sincerely disappointed in the recent decision to remove a spread of a lesbian couple from the Russian edition of Ikea Live magazine. This action certainly does not represent neutrality, as your company had to make a change to its publication to accommodate the recent anti-gay law in Russia. It furthermore is nothing short of discrimination and oppression, because it sends a message to homosexual couples that they are inherently less worthy than heterosexual couples, and it implicitly affirms the discriminatory attitudes behind the new law. Ikea is a company that has historically proven to be quite progressive and supportive of equality, so I am appalled at this decision to stand by while Russian homosexuals are transformed into criminals by an arbitrary law.
I urge you, as a consumer and a global citizen, to take pride in your company’s historical progressiveness, and to follow up on that promise. I call on you to acknowledge the discrimination behind this decision, and to apologize for and reverse it, in order to right this wrong. I encourage you to use this opportunity to take a stand on behalf of diversity, tolerance, and equality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Calvin Teo via Wikimedia Commons