Apple’s Pride-Themed Watch Face Is Being Blocked in Russia

August 31, 2018, 10:23 PM UTC

Part of the fun of an Apple Watch is choosing the right watch-face design to suit your tastes. Toward this end, Apple introduced a gay-pride themed, rainbow watch face in June, but it seems that particular watch face has been blocking it in Russia.

After people began asking on Apple’s support forum and on Reddit why they couldn’t find the pride-themed watch face in Russia, Tom Warren, an editor at The Verge, tried installing it on a Watch and then changed the regional settings of its paired iPhone to Russia. A video that Warren shared on Twitter shows that the installed pride face vanishes under the new setting.

Guilherme Rambo, an iOS software developer, also shared software code that he said showed the Watch is “hardcoded” to not show the pride face when a paired iPhone’s settings are set to Russia.

Russia passed a law in 2013 that sought to prohibit what its government considered as promoting homosexuality. While Russia decriminalized homosexuality after the fall of the Soviet Union, homophobia and discrimination against gays has persisted in the country under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin. In June, Europe’s top human-rights court ruled that Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law was itself illegal.

Also in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook led about 1,000 Apple employees who marched in San Francisco’s annual Pride Parade. Some employees shared photos of themselves marching with Apple’s top executive, while Cook himself cheered on Apple employees in attendance.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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