Apple's Russian-Language Siri Accused of Homophobia
A video showing the voice-activated personal assistant allegedly giving homophobic answers to gay-related questions has gone viral.
A Russian-language version of Apple's Siri personal assistant has been accused of offering homophobic responses to gay-related questions. Apple has since claimed the issue was due to a bug that was promptly fixed.
The situation was brought to public attention by a U.K.-based Russian calling himself Alex, who posted a YouTube video in which he asked Siri questions related to homosexual topics.
When asked about the existence of nearby gay clubs, the voice-activated helper replied: "I would have turned red, if I could." To a question about whether gay marriage is "normal," Siri responded with either "You are so rude" or "I believe this emotion should be considered negative."
The question of how to register a gay marriage in England generated the responses, "I will pretend I didn't hear that," and "Now you are using obscenities and then you are going to eat bread with the same hands."
The video went viral, prompting Apple to state that the problem was the result of a bug that had since been fixed.
However, the fact that the problem occurred against the backdrop of a largely homophobic climate in Russia, where a law "against gay propaganda among minors" is currently in place, left some people unconvinced that it was purely coincidental.
"I can understand if a company needs to adapt to the legislation of a country," Alex was quoted as saying by BBC Trending. "Apple fixed it. But there hasn't been an explanation as to how it happened in the first place."
Apple's Russian office has not yet replied to The Hollywood Reporter's queries about who was in charge of localizing Siri for Russia and whether there had also been complaints about the service from inside Russia.