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A Russian Politician Thinks U2’s Album Cover Is ‘Gay Propaganda’

2 minute read

Bono-hating iTunes users weren’t the only ones who were mad when U2’s Songs of Innocence album suddenly descended from the Cloud last September. Now add Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov to the list.

According to The Guardian, the member of Russia’s conservative LDPR party has asked his country’s attorney general to investigate Apple, which gave away the band’s latest album to more than 500 million iTunes customers, for distributing “gay propaganda” to the youths of Russia.

The offending material isn’t the music, however, but the album cover—and not the sparse, all-white one that came with the iTunes version, but the one that was released with the physical edition of the record. The image by Glen Luchford depicts U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. hugging the waist of 18-year-old son and, according to the band, shows “how holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else’s.” But because neither father nor son are wearing shirts in the image—and, okay, because fathers and sons don’t usually embrace like that—Starovoitov thinks the cover promotes gay sex instead.

If convicted, the report adds—one pro-Kremlin paper even quotes a lawyer who says he’s prepared to sue on behalf of his own son—Apple could have to shut down in Russia for up to 90 days or pay up to some $20,000 in fines. So let’s hope U2 doesn’t get stuck in a lawsuit it can’t get out of.

[The Guardian]

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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com