A St. Petersburg memorial to Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs has been put up for auction after it was dismantled as "gay propaganda" in the aftermath of successor Tim Cook's public coming out.
The group of companies that erected the statue, the Western European fiscal union, also known as ZEFS, said Monday that about half of those asked at a company forum were opposed to returning the monument to its original stand and instead chose to auction it off, Russian News Service reported Monday.
The monument — a giant iPhone — has now been put up for sale, with a starting price of 5 million rubles ($94,000). Visitors to the fiscal union's website are encourage to bid on the lot, though no bids had been placed as of this article's publication on Monday afternoon.
ZEFS erected a two-meter-high monument outside a St. Petersburg college in January last year to honor the Apple founder, who died in 2011 at the age of 56 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
A day after Jobs' successor Cook came out as gay at the end of October, the union removed the statue, saying it contravened a Russian law that bans the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.
"In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law," ZEFS was cited as saying by Reuters, adding the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars."
In comments to Russian New Service on Monday, ZEFS head Maxim Dolgopolov said Cooks' sexuality had played a major role in deciding to remove the monument as well as concerns over the security of Apple products.
Citing U.S. leaker Edward Snowden, who in 2013 blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance program, Dolgopolov said Apple products illegally transmitted data back to U.S. intelligence agencies and that users should instead buy products from other manufacturers.
Those wishing to bid on the Steve Jobs memorial can do so up until midday on Dec. 10.