An employee at a Russian global retail company says it only allows straight applicants to its business course because gays can’t be ‘heroes and wizards’.
The firm, which has 360 stores worldwide including the US, says only ‘heterosexual’ people, aged 21 to 27 and with no health problems, can take part in the three-month training program.
Now a Facebook fan page for the company has responded to international criticism telling campaigner Larry Poltavtsev, writing on behalf the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, why gay people do not make good entrepreneurs.
‘We are looking for real heroes and wizards. However, such roles are suitable for people with "traditional sexual orientation",’ a user writing for the website wrote in answer to concerns about the company’s homophobic policies.
‘We stand for good deeds. Hunger strikes and gay parades are not such deeds.’
The member of staff said his opinions were those of an ‘ordinary employee’ at Expedition and claimed if Russia implemented the same anti-discrimination policies of the US, ‘we would soon become extinct’.
‘By education I am a biologist, so I can reasonably say that people with "sexual orientation" are seriously ill…not all, but most of them…’
Campaigners have launched a petition against Expedition, which has branches in Delaware and New York, urging the American government to investigate the company for breaking federal and state discrimination laws.
Poltavtsev, founder of the Stop Expedition campaign, is also petitioning the US Department of State to warn consulates abroad and the American immigration service that owners and executives of the Russian-owned Expedition are engaged in ‘discrimination practices and persecuting people based on their sexual orientation’.
Campaigners in Russia have already called for a boycott of the company.
Russia has seen an increasing crackdown on gay rights recently, with Orthodox Christians calling for a ban on gay clubs in Moscow on Monday (8 October).
In June, gay pride was banned in Moscow for 100 years and in March a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, was submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.