U2 and Apple Accused of Spreading "Gay Propaganda" in Russia

U2 and Apple Accused of Spreading "Gay Propaganda" in Russia
U2's Songs of Innocence is facing criticism from a Russian politician who is accusing the Irish rock group and Apple of distributing "gay propaganda" to minors.

The Guardian reports that Alexander Starovoitov, a member of the country's far-right LDPR party, claims that Apple's roll-out of the LP, which placed the album in over 500 million iTunes users for free last fall, has spammed youths with illegal content. As such, he has asked Russia's attorney general to investigate Apple.

In regards to the album's artwork, in which shirtless drummer Larry Mullen Jr. is embracing his 18-year-old son, Starovoitov says it promotes sex between men. This could fall under Russia's federal anti-LGBT propaganda law, which was enacted in 2013 "for the purpose of protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values."

Additionally, Russian paper Izvestia reports that lawyer Evgeny Tonky is looking to file suit against Apple in compensation for the alleged moral damage the artwork inflicted upon his son. If Apple loses the case, the tech giant could be forced to cease operations in Russia for up to 90 days, or pay a fine.

The album art in question hadn't initially been packaged with the digital release. Originally, the art for the iTunes gift was an image of a vinyl test pressing of the album. The black and white photo of Mullen Jr. and son, shot by Glen Luchford, was first presented via physical copies of the album. The iTunes store was later updated to include the image.

"Songs of Innocence is the most intimate album we've ever made," U2 vocalist Bono had previously said. "With this record we were looking for the raw, naked and personal, to strip everything back. If you know the album you'll see the themes in the visual language, how holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else's."

U2's "Innocence and Experience" tour hits Vancouver's Rogers Arena May 14 and 15, with the band heading to Montreal and Toronto later in the year. You'll see more details on the trip here.