Saw-inspired Russian website promoting the hunting of LGBT+ people has been shut down

Пила (Saw), a website rewarding the hunting of LGBT+ people, has been blocked. Yet a Russian LGBT+ group worries it may return without proper legal action.

A person wearing Saw like a neon mask in an underground parking lot.

A Russian website promoting the hunting of LGBT+ people, Пила (Saw), has been blocked following numerous reports and complaints. Пила emerged online in April 2018, taking its name from the movie franchise Saw

In exchange for a cash reward, the website encouraged people to hunt and kidnap members of the LGBT+ community. ‘Hunters’ could find personal details of believed LGBT+ people, such as names and addresses, for 200 rubles (€2.83). If someone wanted their names removed, they would have to pay the higher rate of 1,500 rubles (€21.19).

Rewards offered to these ‘hunters’ could go as high as 300,000 rubles (€3,970). The website provided legal protection to the ‘hunters’, setting the following rule: “You can [do] almost everything except killings.”

The Russian LGBT+ Network announced the shutdown of the website on Wednesday, July 17, reporting, “Despite the media attention, law enforcement agencies have still not done anything to find the creators of this “game” and bring them to justice”.*

They further stated, “We did not find a single attack case directly related to this group. We think it was created with one sole purpose – to bully the LGBT + community and incite hatred”.*

They are calling on people to contact the Federal Security Service, the Investigation Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office to start a criminal investigation into Пила.

The description of the website details: “We know that a little more than 70% of Russia have a negative attitude towards LGBT people and about 15% will experience hatred and aggression towards them.”

In January 2019, 40 people were imprisoned as part of Chechnya’s new purge, two people died from extreme torture.  In 2017, the first gay purge involved the detaining 100 men and three reportedly died. 

Following the website being shut down, The Russian LGBT+ Network stated, “This resource has been blocked before. Let’s try to make sure that it never opens again!”.

*Translated from Russian.

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