IKEA risks boycott in Poland after an employee claims to have been fired because of his views on homosexuality and sexual minorities, national Swedish broadcaster SVT reported.
The man reportedly published “homophobic messages” on IKEA's intranet in connection with IKEA's corporate event to support LGBT rights on International Day against homo-, bi- and transphobia in May. Parts of the “LGBT-hostile” message were reportedly direct Bible quotes.
IKEA urged him to remove the posts and when he refused, he was fired.
The man explained that he is a devout Catholic and that that he cannot share the company's values. He described himself as “shaken” and argued that he had been the victim of religious discrimination.
Every day we are proud to work with and represent people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and during #PrideMonth, we celebrate all those who help create a more beautiful world – just by being in it. pic.twitter.com/IMhAHD75eh— IKEA USA News (@IKEAUSANews) 12 июня 2019 г.
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro ordered a thorough investigation of the incident. If true, he argued, this is “absolutely scandalous”, the Polish news outlet TVP Info reported.
According to Ziobro, Poland is currently forced to deal with a phenomenon in which “legal and economic violence” is used against “those who don't share the views of homo-activists”.
The fired IKEA employee has also been offered legal assistance from Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki, who also called to investigate whether the furniture giant discriminates against Catholics.
IKEA Poland has confirmed the incident. It assured that the company's values are based on freedom of opinion, tolerance and respect for each employee, but stressed that they do not accept offensive behaviour in any name of belief and that several employees must have been upset by the man's messages.
“We would have take similar measures should any other group (for instance, Catholics), have been violated”, the company wrote. IKEA also stressed that it was “not opinions” that were a problem, but “the way of expressing opinions that violated other people”.
At IKEA, we believe #equality is a fundamental human right and that all homes are created equal. To celebrate #Pride, we’re offering a limited edition of our KVANTING bag, with all proceeds going to @HRC programs that support LGBT+ youth and families. https://t.co/scvPdMgv0O pic.twitter.com/Tn3HndklEl— IKEA USA News (@IKEAUSANews) 21 мая 2019 г.
Earlier this year, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling party Law and Justice, called the development of LGBT rights a “serious danger” for both Polish families and the future of the EU.
He also faulted gender theory, which claims sexual orientation is a social construct assigned by society to individuals based on their gender, which, he argued, was outlandish and undermined the traditional family.
“These ideologies, philosophies, all of this is imported, these are not internal Polish mechanisms”, Kaczynski was quoted as saying. “They are a threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state”.