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Orange pulls ads from Uganda tabloid that outed 200 gay people

Telecoms company is protesting against Uganda's anti-gay law that punishes homosexuality with life in jail

Orange pulls ads from Uganda tabloid that outed 200 gay people

Telecom company Orange is pulling advertizing from a Uganda tabloid that outed hundreds of gay people in the country.

Red Pepper, a prominent tabloid, published 200 names and faces of LGBTI people in Uganda sparking fears of mob violence.

Orange spokesperson Jean-Bernard Orsoni said: ‘Orange Uganda is advertising in most newspapers and radio stations in the country.

‘By publishing an ad in a newspaper we do not endorse its editorial content and we obviously have no control over the editorial content of these publications.

‘However, the contract with Red Pepper ended on March 6, 2014 and it will not be extended until further notice.’

Over 70,000 members of global campaigning charity signed a petition calling on Orange to withdraw its advertising.

Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of All Out, said: ‘Orange’s decision to withdraw their advertising and to explicitly support their LGBT employees should ring alarm bells for Ugandan politicians and business people about the impact this law could have on the national economy.’

Back in 2010, a similar list was published by Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone. The names and photos were published under the headline of ‘HANG THEM’ and accompanied by the individuals’ addresses.

It led to at least one death, the murder of gay rights activist and SMUG member David Kato.

Pepe Julian Onziema, who was on the Red Pepper’s list of LGBTI people, said his biggest fear in Uganda now are the mob attacks.

‘They call their bill “theirs”. It is not. They don’t understand it. The law doesn’t allow you to go attack people. It’s a badge of violent ignorance,’ he told Gay Star News.

‘I am afraid of a hunt. Some of us, my face particularly, is well known everywhere.

‘They will attack anyone who they suspect is gay. This was happening before it was made law, and it will only increase. They are probably on the hunt now.’

Several LGBTI people have been arrested and dozens have fled the country since it was passed into law.

In the week before it was signed into law, at least eight attempted suicide with three succeeding.

The new law punishes homosexuality with up to life in jail.

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