Apple has removed Hornet, the world’s queer social network, from its App Store in Turkey, responding to a court order from the staunchly queerphobic Turkish government
Available to read in Turkish here.
UPDATE, Feb. 25, 2022: Hornet is reinstated in Apple’s App Store as a new app called Hornet Stories, custom-built for Turkey for our LGBTQ userbase while the original app remains blocked. Read more about it here.
West Hollywood, Calif., Aug. 10, 2021 — The Turkish government’s ongoing attempt at suppressing and silencing LGBTQ voices within its borders has now resulted in the removal of Hornet from the App Store in Turkey. Apple has informed Hornet the action was taken on Aug. 6 in response to a court order issued by the Turkish government. Hornet is now in the process of taking up legal counsel to appeal the decision both to Apple and through the courts.
Hornet, which boasts more than 3 million users inside Turkey, has long been the backbone of the country’s queer community. As the only remaining digital platform for the nation’s LGBTQ population, users rely on Hornet for the latest in LGBTQ-centric news and health resources in addition to personal connections.
Turkey’s crackdown on LGBTQ society dates back to at least September 2013, when the popular hookup app Grindr was banned by the Turkish government. The years since have seen censorship of gay TV characters, boycotts of LGBTQ-friendly brands, government officials who refer to LGBTQ people as “freaks” and “degenerates,” arrests of student organizers and crackdowns on Pride parades by armed riot police.
In August 2020, access to Hornet’s web presence at hornet.com was blocked by the Turkish government, citing the same anti-LGBTQ court order.
“What we are seeing take place in Turkey — a gradual erosion of free speech, consistently queerphobic language from the government’s highest offices, physical brutality in the streets — is nothing short of disappointing,” says Hornet Founder and CEO Christof Wittig. “But it’s also a clear indication that the work Hornet does as the world’s queer social network is more vital today than ever before. So Hornet will continue to meet the needs of our community.”
Hornet remains committed to technological solutions for keeping its queer social network accessible to users in Turkey despite the government’s unrelenting attack on the LGBTQ community. Grassroots efforts by the local community via Twitter and Change.org/Hornet, aimed at reinstating access to the app, are already taking place throughout the country, though Hornet cautions its Turkish users and all LGBTQ community members not to endanger themselves with their actions.
Hornet is the world’s queer social network with over 35 million diverse users, providing a community home base that is available anytime, anywhere. Amplifying the radical, affirmative power of the LGBTQ community with cutting-edge technology, users feel comfortable sharing their experiences with friends who understand and validate their life. To find out more, please visit hornet.com.
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