Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has pulled an app about homosexuality and Christianity from its App Store after tens of thousands of people signed a petition against it. The move is a sign of how Apple is willing to wield its editorial axe in the App Store when enough people cry foul when one group attacks another.
Developed by a group called Exodus International — which describes itself as a “nonprofit, interdenominational ‘ex-gay’ Christian organization” promoting “freedom from homosexuality” on its Facebook page (which has not been taken down) — the eponymous app describes itself as a “useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders” and integrates media such as Twitter and Facebook feeds, podcasts and videos.
The app (a link to it here) was given a 4+ rating from Apple when it was first approved and posted to the App Store on March 8, but its critics slammed the app for its main message, which is based around homosexuality being wrong. Since going live, the app got dubbed the “Gay Cure” app by those who opposed it.
One of the groups against the app, Truth Wins Out, started up a petition on the Change.org site. It’s still running even with the app down, and has picked up more than 150,000 signatures. (It had more than 140,000 when the app got pulled.)
According to a report on FoxNews.com, Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr told the site: “We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”
While Apple has been amenable to approving and posting special-interest apps from different sides of the ideological spectrum, it appears to draw the line when special interests collide, even if it sometimes takes 140,000 people to bring its attention to that.
Apps like these, of course, can still be downloaded and used on a jailbroken iPhone.
Google (NSDQ: GOOG), it should be noted, can pull an app just as quickly as Apple when it has reason to — see the recent problems with the knock-off apps that contained malware.
This is not the first time that Apple has pulled an app from the App Store for offending another group. The “Manhattan Declaration” app, also released by a religious group with Right messages, was pulled in December after thousands of complaints.