Telecom leader Orange cuts ties with Uganda newspaper for outing LGBT people

In response to Uganda's tabloid newspaper, the Red Pepper, publishing a list of the country's "top 200 homosexuals," one of the leading multinational telecommunications companies, Orange, has ended its contract with the publication.

The decision to publish the list has been considered aggressive and dangerous, as Uganda's LGBT community is struggling against a violent, strongly anti-LGBT environment in the wake of the recently enacted "Jail the Gays" law.

The globally-focused LGBT organization All Out garnered nearly 80,000 signatures on a petition asking for the telecom giant to stop advertising through the tabloid. Orange tweeted on Friday:

On top of pulling advertising, the petition also called on Orange and other multinational companies with presence in Uganda to "protect and support your LGBT employees" and "speak out about the risks to Uganda's economy from these attacks on human rights."

In a statement, All Out's co-founder and executive director Andre Banks responded to Orange's announcement:

“We commend Orange for their leadership in reaction to the Anti-Homosexuality Law. Orange’s decision to withdraw their advertising and to explicitly support their LGBT employees should ring alarm bells for Ugandan politicians and business people about the impact this law could have on the national economy."

Last week, five leading Ugandan LGBT advocates released a document in which they outline the most helpful ways for western leaders to advocate for LGBT equality in Uganda. Check it out here to learn how you can help.