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Apple CEO Asked to Shun Yevroset Deal Over Actor's Homophobic Comments

A group of almost 20 Russian and foreign gay rights groups have sent a letter asking Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to reconsider doing business with the Russian cell phone retailer Yevroset in light of homophobic remarks by its creative director, actor Ivan Okhlobystin.

The letter, which was published on Spectrum Human Rights website Sunday, came in response to Okhlobystin's comments last month, when he told fans in Novosibirsk, "I'd put [gay people] all alive in an oven ... it's a living danger to my children."

Cook, a usually private executive who spoke about the discrimination he faces as a gay man at a speech last month, has not yet responded publicly to the letter, which asks him to not allow Yevroset to sell Apple products as Okhlobystin's remarks contributed to "the rampant homophobic campaign" in Russia.

Yevroset CEO Alexander Malis told CNews that he wouldn't comment on the letter "because we do not offend gays ... We serve all people equally and in principle are against discrimination."

Earlier Malis had responded to Okhlobystin's comments by saying: "Ivan expressed his personal opinion, and we will not dismiss him for it. Of course, we are against someone being burned in a furnace. We agreed that there won't be more of such statements," Ridus reported.

Okhlobystin, most famous for starring in a Russian take on the medical sitcom "Interny," is known for being a controversial media personality and was an Orthodox priest before being suspended in 2010.

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