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Apple rejects gay humour app

Apple rejects gay humour app

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'I believe their actions were more than likely homophobic,' developer says
A gay Vancouver man is accusing Apple of homophobia after the information-technology giant rejected his gay-themed application, for reasons that he claims were “tenuous and vague at best.”

Barry McDermott developed a humour application called Lil’ Flamer, which is a soundboard that features a smiling, pink flame-shaped creature who says lighthearted phrases in what McDermott describes as an “extremely gay” voice.

On Feb 8, Apple rejected McDermott’s application on the grounds that it contained “defamatory or offensive content that would be considered objectionable by many audiences.”

“The phrases I have are out there,” says McDermott, who lent his voice to the character. “My sayings are plays on sexuality, or what we consider masculine and feminine. Obviously, you can tell that the voice is extremely gay because it’s got a lisp and it’s very feminine. The whole idea of the app was to make people smile and laugh. It was a humour app for a very niche market, with gays being the target demographic.”

Applications developed for iOS devices such as iPads, iPhones and iPods must be approved by Apple before they can be listed in the company’s App Store. During the approval process, Apple reviews applications to ensure they are functional and free of “offensive material.” If an application is rejected, the developer can appeal to the App Review Board.

McDermott appealed Apple’s decision to the App Review Board and was rejected again, this time for a different reason.

“The App Review Board evaluated your app and determined that the original rejection feedback was not accurate,” Apple wrote in an email to McDermott. “However, the following issue/s were discovered during our evaluation: 19.1: Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.”

McDermott is flabbergasted by Apple’s reasoning. He says he fails to understand how his application could be interpreted as mean-spirited or defamatory.

“I believe their actions were more than likely homophobic because their reasons were tenuous and vague at best,” he says. “Sure, it could be considered ‘offensive,’ but that definition could be applied to anything. Perhaps I find purple socks worn with green pants offensive. Perhaps I find politicians offensive. Anything and everything can be offensive — it’s purely subjective.”

Some of Lil’ Flamer’s phrases include “Mhm, girlfriend, how you doin,” and “Glitter is the new black” and “This opportunity never stops knocking.”

An Apple spokesperson confirmed that McDermott’s application was rejected but declined further comment.

“I thought the rejection was something specific to my app, but I did a Google search and noticed they had a problem with other gay culture content apps,” McDermott says. “When you start connecting the dots, I realized it has nothing to do with me. Apple, I think, has a larger problem with gay content and culture.”

In 2010, Apple rejected an iPod travel application called Gay New York: 101 Can't-Miss Places, which was created by American writer and publicist Anthony Grant in conjunction with San Francisco-based Sutro Media. Apple took issue with images that showed too much skin, as well as a political caricature of former American vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

“You have to remember that 90 percent of the population is heterosexual,” Grant says, “and a corporation like Apple is coming out saying we have equal benefits for workers
et cetera. That’s all well and good, but that is quite separate from gayness on the ground, so to speak.”

McDermott speculates that Apple rejected his application so as not to offend parents who may find gay content inappropriate for their children. In the introduction to its App Store guidelines, Apple emphasizes that it is “keeping an eye out for the kids.”

McDermott thinks the company is more concerned about profits.

“My app was never intended for kids, and I self-rated at 17-plus,” he points out. “This is my own opinion, but I believe it has to do with them not freaking out parents. Maybe the parents would be more reluctant to buy an iPad or something in the future. I think it would hurt Apple’s bottom line. I think they could care less about kids and care everything about their bottom line.”

Grant believes that Apple’s objections amount to creative and artistic marginalization of some of the “salty” and “earthy” realities of gay culture.

“There’s a chilling effect,” he says. “You have gay apps now and people are afraid of Apple clamping down on them, so a lot of gay iconography is cloaked as something else, hidden or implied. It’s okay, for example, to say you have an app for dating or meeting, but god forbid you put sex in there. It’s like some weird reversed digitized Victorian age and gay people should be the first ones to say ‘what the fuck.’”


Comments

You do realize...
You guys do realize that the CEO of Apple is gay, right?
@Stephan
Sorry Stephan, but Marc's got a point. I'm no fan of many of Apple's policies, but the app honestly sounds terrible. I'm not sure how finding this app dumb makes me some kind of "isheep" fanboy. Your argument is basically one giant false equivalency. Also, just because this developer is gay, I have to support him, no matter what nonsense he puts out? Grow up.
@ Marc
@ Marc, after reading your reply to my comments (and the fact that your completely missed my point(s)), the fact that you have an iPhone explains everything. Cheers Marc. P.S. I replaced my older Macbook with a new one two months ago. However, their phones are absolutely over-rated and in a word - horrible compared to other company's phones. And considering how many Apple iSheep are out there, they need to up their support for the gay iSheep (and gays in general).
i meant STEPHEN JOBLESS
....not Joseph.
Hey Joseph
Quite obvious from your post that you despise Apple and that's ok. It's just that your post sounds really stupid. Just because I have an iphone doesn't make me an Isheep, but it's ok. I use a PC at home and work, am I also a PCSHEEPLE? LOL This app is crap and you know it, that is all. Apple bans hundreds of apps all the time. So glad you have all the time in the world Mr. Jobless to count gay staff at each Apple store. What a life you must lead. Either that or you are actually 12 years old and trolling.
The usual iSheep being blind again
I love how all the hypocrite Apple iSheep people are on here siding with Apple. Funny but if Google had done what Apple did, these same iSheep would be marching in the streets. Whether the app is good or bad isn't the point here, it's Apple deciding to ban it. What the gay iSheep around the world don't want to admit is that Steve Jobs wasn't exactly standing up for gay rights or equality in the least - nor has Apple in general over the years. Apple's headquarters are predominately heterosexual and so is the Apple culture in general. Just because some Apple stores have the odd gay employee, doesn't make Apple this great big supporter of gay rights and freedoms.
Sounds Like Something
Barry whipped up on a rainy Friday night enjoying a bottle of wine in between chats on gaydotcom. Back to the drawing board buddy.
Barry offends me
Have to agree with all the comments on here - this app is useless, perpetuates a false stereotype and offends me. I don't know anyone - gay or straight - who would ever waste their time on this thing. Barry, by crying to media you are only fuelling the conservative fire. Crying homophobia is exactly the kind of behaviour they accuse us of using to advance the "gay agenda", and you should be ashamed for perpetuating that. Xtra, shame on you for giving a voice to this misguided man.
Offensive. yes. Homophobic. No!
Homophobic is a little strong....I think Apple was right to reject it. As a gay man, I would have to say I don't find the app appropriate or fun....just kind of useless and it definitely perpetuates a stereotype of gay men being overly dramatic or effeminate. Plus the title "L'il Flamer"....come on! Did the developer really think Apple would approve that name? I hate the term "flamer" because it is often used in a derogatory fashion, at least in my experience.
Crapp App
Imagine sitting on the App Board, and this thing comes across your desk. What if it was submitted by a straight developer? The soundboard all of a sudden might sound a lot different. Did the App Board know that it was a gay developer? I'd be tempted to ban it as an app only slightly less homophobic than something developed by Exodus International. And frankly, gay developer or not, do we really need this terrible-sounding app? I'm a gay guy, but sure as hell don't consider myself part of his "very niche market" for people with no taste and a double-digit IQ.

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