Russia Siri Gay
A Russian speaker gets homophobic replies from Apple's virtual assistant Siri when asked about gay clubs.YouTube screenshot

A Russian-language Siri gave negative and often silent responses to a user's questions on gay clubs leading to accusations against Apple for programming its virtual assistant to be homophobic.

In a video that has gone viral on YouTube, a Russian speaker, identified as Alex, is seen asking the Russian version of Siri if there are any "gay clubs around".

Siri responds saying: "I would have turned red [blushed] if I could."

Alex than asks Siri: "How to register a gay marriage in the UK?" to which Siri first gives a silent response followed by, "I will pretend I haven't heard it."

After BBC's Russian team tested similar questions with Siri, they reportedly got similar replies, which further fueled the homophobic claims.

Apple has claimed the responses were due to a bug that has now been fixed.

Russia on gay rights

Russia has been known to be conservative regarding rights granted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons.

Despite homosexual relationships being decriminalized in 1993 and transgender Russians being granted the right to alter their gender on identity documents since 1997, LGBT persons still suffer discrimination with hate crimes.

According to an 85-page Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Russia titled License to Harm, Russian authorities were found to have, "failed in their obligation to prevent and prosecute homophobic violence [and] effectively legalized discrimination against LGBT people and cast them as second class citizens.

"LGBT people described being beaten, abducted, humiliated, and called 'paedophiles' or 'perverts' in some cases by homophobic vigilante groups and in others by strangers on the subway, on the street, at nightclubs, at cafes, and in one case, at a job interview," reported the HRW.