As you may and may not know, Apple Computer exercises editorial control over the content of the Apple Store, through which music, ebooks, and iPhone and iPad applications are sold. It's been called - somewhat derisively - a Disneyland development platform, and many people prefer Android-based phones specifically because they want an open development environment. I have sympathy for this position, but this post isn't about that argument.
One of the risks of exercising this kind of control is that if you do it, you're effectively endorsing all the applications put online on that store. You're exercising editorial control, and you're making judgement calls.
And if that judgement call happens to include approving an application called "PeekABooTranny," that makes fake photobombs of "fierce trannies in hilarious poses" and promising "a tranny surprise in every shot!" then, well, Apple has endorsed that, as well. (The company behind this application issued a press release today promoting the application that rollick posted about here.)
I have phoned Apple and had a long conversation with a nice woman in media relations, expressing my anger, and wondering whether they would similarly approve "PeekABooN*****" featuring "fierce d****** in hilarious poses" and promising "a watermelon-sucking co** in every shot." I've also told them that, as someone co-running a small ISP that is an Apple/Linux house, and as someone talking to them via my iPhone, that I would junk every piece of Apple hardware I have and never buy another one if this isn't fixed.
I want to make something clear: I wouldn't be upset at Apple about this were this an open platform. I'd be upset at the company who wrote it, and the transphobic and sexist bastards behind that company, and the stinking wastes of flesh who buy it - but not the neutral, open platform.
But it's not an open platform. Apple only sell apps that meet their standards of appropriateness. They hold a very strong line against anything that might be "offensive content." (You might recall the "baby shaker" application pulled last month.) If you're gonna do that, fine; you're gonna take the hits that come with it. And this, apparently, did not trigger anyone's ideas about "offensive content." I find that obscene.
I cannot urge you strongly enough to let Apple know what you think of this particular judgement call. Apple Public Relations is at +1 (408) 974-2042. If you have an iPhone, ring them up from it, and let them know about that part as well. Ms. A. didn't say "we'll need a bunch of complaints for this to gain any traction," but she implied it. Make those complaints.
Unless you're for this kind of thing, in which case, get the fuck off my friendslist. Now.
Again, Apple Public Relations: +1 (408) 974-2042.
eta: Addenda to this post are here, including instructions for text/email complaints. But phone first.
eta2: Can you still see the application in iTunes? We could as of this morning but are getting reports that it's being withdrawn from store servers, and I don't see it anymore myself. See here for first report; it seems to have started disappearing sometime after 8:30am Pacific time, North America. Is it still findable for you?
And if it is gone, what should happen now? I'd personally hope that whoever approved this gets a good talking to. I don't want them fired or anything; I'd just like somebody to go, "what the hell you thinkin'?" at whoever it was.
eta3: GLAAD reports that Apple specifically took down the app in response to consumer complaints and complaints from GLAAD itself. If Apple's going to have a "walled garden" approach, they need to pay attention to what they're letting over that wall, and what somehow does and does not count as defamatory. Of course, an open dev environment would've kept this problem off Apple's complaint, but given the realities, at least they acted quickly.
Hi, all you awfully large number of people! I'm normally a musician, and I'm working on my first album. (My official band site, such as it is, is here, and if that's having net issues again, our music is actually hosted over here, on Bandcamp, and they have lots of bandwidth. Give a listen, if you like.) I'm trying to keep on top of comments and things while working on my music, but I'm going to be playing catch-up in waves. So if your comment doesn't appear for a few hours, that's why; I'm quite busy. Try to keep Apple at least as busy as I am, OK? XD