Gay Family Forced To Flee Russia After Death Threats From Supermarket Advert
A lesbian family in a supermarket advert in Russia has been forced to flee to Spain after being targeted with abuse and death threats.
The ad was released in June and featured a mum named Yuma, who is in a same-sex relationship, along with her two daughters, Alina and Mila, and Alina’s girlfriend.
It was designed to promote the supermarket VkusVill and featured the slogan ‘recipes for family happiness’, however it came with an 18+ warning due to Russia’s ban on so-called ‘gay-propaganda’, which prevents the distribution of content promoting ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’ to viewers under the age of 18.
In spite of its age rating, the ad was met with backlash from conservative groups and some customers in Russia, where gay marriage and adoption by gay couples is illegal. The family were targeted with abuse and threats and VkusVill ultimately withdrew the ad just a few days after it was released, though the hate towards the family continued.
During an interview with YouTuber Karen Shainyan, per BBC News, Yuma said trolls had even targeted her young granddaughter and said they wanted to ‘rape her, kill her, stab a child who is just sitting and smiling in the photograph’.
In a post on Instagram, Mila revealed the family had fled to Barcelona after being hit with the criticism, writing that ‘because of this difficult situation with VkussVill, [they] were left without work and without a home’.
Mila asked her followers for help finding a job and getting settled in Spain, adding, ‘We [are having] a difficult time and we need friends.’
In another post, Yuma assured the family was ‘safe and resting’ after escaping Russia and offered a ‘huge thank-you’ to those who ‘risked speaking out’ in support, Sky News reports.
She wrote, ‘Thanks to you, we didn’t give in. For all of us this was a difficult experience, we’re all in a difficult state of mind. But the sea, sun and kindness are healing us.’
The mum also noted that leaving Russia would allow Alina to marry her girlfriend.
After the family’s advert was removed, VkusVill released a new ad featuring a heterosexual family. The company also apologised for hurting ‘the feelings of a large number of [its] customers, employees, partners and suppliers’, though LGBTQ+ advocates have hit back at the apology, accusing the company of cowardice.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]
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