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Giant Russian iPhone statue taken down after Tim Cook comes out

MOSCOW - A two-meter statue of an iPhone on a university campus in St. Petersburg has been taken down in response to last week's announcement by the CEO of Apple that he is gay.

In a statement, ZEFS, which according to its website owns construction, advertising, and finance enterprises in St. Petersburg, describes Tim Cook's revelation "a public call to sodomy."

ZEFS said Monday it was taking down the statue because it violated Russia's controversial law protecting minors from homosexual propaganda. The law has been condemned by critics as a means of repressing sexual minorities in the country.

In an essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook said he's "proud to be gay."

Cook wrote in the column that it wasn't an easy choice to publicly disclose that he is gay, but that he felt the acknowledgement could help others.

"I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important," he wrote.

The executive said that "being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended Russia's anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles, even saying Russia needs to "cleanse" itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Putin's comments show the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West. The Russian law passed last year banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors has caused an international outcry.