Duolingo referred to Russia’s media watchdog over ‘LGBT propaganda’

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has begun an investigation into the language-learning app Duolingo following a complaint that its content included so-called “LGBT propaganda”, state news agency TASS reported on Friday.

Roskomnadzor would be investigating Duolingo for potential “distribution of information that promotes LGBT,” its press office confirmed to TASS.

The investigation was reportedly opened at the request of Novosibirsk-based human rights group Radetel, which objected to children using Duolingo to learn English being made to read aloud sentences such as “Ben and Peter love each other. They are gay,” and “Clara met her wife Maria at a lesbian bar.”

Radetel, which referred to members of the LGBT community as “sodomites” in its complaint to Roskomnadzor, said that “outraged” parents had brought Duolingo’s LGBT “propaganda” to its attention, adding that they had said they didn’t know how to explain the sentences to their primary school-age children “without traumatising them”.

Radetel’s official Telegram page describes its mission as the protection of “public morality, culture and traditional family values.” The organisation has in recent months called for the cancellation of concerts by artists it deemed to have show insufficient support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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