According to accusations, iPhone’s “personal assistant,” or rather, its Russian-language version, has been providing homophobic responses to questions about lesbians and gays. A “knowledge activator” and voice-activated assistant called Siri has is installed in Apple’s iPads and phones, which answers questions spoken into the handset and provides internet links.
Although the English version of the personal assistant is known for its witty retorts, several users are complaining that homophobic and insulting answers are coming out of the Russian-language version that was launched last month.
On Saturday, one Russian man in London, called Alex, posted a video on YouTube in which Siri responds in a woman’s voice to his questions about gay marriages and whether they are “normal,” by saying, “Alex, you are so rude!” and “I consider this emotion should be considered negative.”
When asked, “How do you register a gay marriage in England?” in Russian, Siri replies on an iPad, “I will pretend I didn’t hear that.” Asked the same question again, Siri shelles out a different response, saying: “Now you are using obscenities and then you are going to eat bread with the same hands.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Apple did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman told PinkNews it was “just a bug that’s been fixed.” Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, came out as gay publicly in October, describing his sexuality as “among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Alex, on the other hand, who is gay himself, said: “I don’t know whether Apple did this itself or this is the work of a contractor, but the result is the same. This just shows that all the words about supporting diversity and equality are amended to the existing marketplace and in Russia they don’t want any association with being pro-gay, I would imagine. However, in Russian, the words lesbian and gay are neutral, they are legitimate words that appear in dictionaries.”