- Human Rights Campaign has suspended Google from its corporate equality index after the tech firm failed to remove a “conversion therapy” app for gay people from the Play Store, Axios reports.
- Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have all shut down the app, named Living Hope Ministries.
- So-called “conversion therapy” has been widely criticised for its demonization of LGBTQ people.
Google has been suspended from America’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organisation’s corporate equality index after failing to remove a conversion therapy app from its app store, Axios reports.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) produces a yearly corporate equality index and Google has scored highly on it in the past, getting a 100% rating on issues including prohibiting discrimination in 2018.
HRC said the app, called Living Hope Ministries, “supports the practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.'”
A petition on Change.org calling for the app’s removal has accrued more than 140,000 signatures, and Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have all removed it from their platforms. Apple removed the app from its App Store in December 2018.
Google did not remove the app, however, and Axios reported earlier this month that several, “major LGBTQ rights groups” had written to CEO Sundar Pichai in the hope of meeting with him about the issue.
On Thursday, Axios reported that HRC suspended Google from the index for its failure to remove the app, which was still on the Google Play Store at time of writing, with roughly 1,000 downloads.
“Such practices have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organisation for decades. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community the CEI rating is suspended,” HRC wrote in a footnote on this year’s company ratings, per Axios.
A spokesperson for HRC told Business Insider:
“We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBTQ youth and also clearly violates the company’s own standards. Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have taken action to remove the app from their platforms, but so far Google has refused despite our warnings about the dangers.”
So-called gay “conversion therapy” has been widely criticised for its detrimental impact on LGBTQ people. The American Psychiatric Association has voiced its concern about efforts “to mischaracterize homosexuality and promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed.”
Google and HRC were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
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