UPDATE – Internet power player Google has finally removed from its Google Play store an app from Living Hope Ministries that promoted so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to LGBTQ youth.
“After consulting with outside advocacy groups, reviewing our policies, and making sure we had a thorough understanding of the app and its relation to conversion therapy, we’ve decided to remove it from the Play Store, consistent with other app stores,” Google said in a statement.
“We are delighted that Google finally backed down and deleted a dangerous app that targeted LGBTQ youth with toxic messages of guilt and shame,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen.
“It is still unfathomable why Google stubbornly defended the indefensible for months, when the hateful and destructive content in this app should have been self-evident,” he added. “We hope this sends a powerful message that ‘pray away the gay’ products are unacceptable and have no place in a decent and civilized society.”
The Human Rights Campaign is withholding Google’s score and endorsement per its annual Corporate Equality Index.
The internet giant has previously enjoyed a perfect 100 on the HRC’s annual rating index.
But you can chalk up the loss of the endorsement to the company’s refusal to remove an app from its Google Play store that targets LGBTQ youth with the harmful and dangerous practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’
Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, pointed up the app in the press several weeks ago. After the app’s hateful content was revealed, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft quickly removed the app from their app stores.
The app was designed by Living Hope Ministries, a Texas-based group which purports to serve people ‘struggling with a conflict between faith and sexuality.’
But Google has refused to follow suit, despite a petition with over 141,000 signatures calling for the apps removal.
In a statement, the HRC said, “We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBTQ youth and also very clearly violates the company’s own standards.”
This is only the third time in the history of the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index that a rating has been withheld.
In 2017, the HRC suspended Walmart’s perfect score after reports the retailer hadn’t protected transgender employees from discrimination.
Walmart was given a perfect 100 this year in the CEI.
In 2015, Saks Inc. found its rating withheld when it was discovered the company was involved in a legal dispute with a trans employee.
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on criteria in four categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality
- Responsible citizenship
The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.
This year, a record 570 companies received a score of 100.
Many companies use their high score to attract employees who are looking to work in a diverse and supportive environment.