Tech titan Apple announced on Thursday, June 25th that it was removing all apps from the App store that displayed the Confederate flag “in offensive or mean-spirited ways”.
Many civil libertarians and app developers who are impacted by the ban are, however, up in arms about the decision, saying this this kind of a blanket ban by Apple is unjust and apps should be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Without editorializing too much, many would agree that the Government should remove the racist symbol from its ground – but removing apps because they display the flag (in a way which is not necessarily offensive) somehow is a different story.
Statement from Apple on banning most apps that display the Confederate flag
“We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines,” the company said in a statement. “We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.”
All U.S. Civil War games apparently banned from App Store by Apple
After digging into the situation, it turns out that Apple has banned virtually all U.S. Civil War games from the App Store regardless of the focus of gameplay or historical accuracy.
According to the developers of the game Ultimate General: Gettysburg, Apple is being completely arbitrary and unfair. Apparently Apple told the developers at Game-Labs that the game could be reinstated if the Confederate flag were removed. The game maker replied it absolutely refuses to compromise the historical accuracy of its top quality game.
“Spielberg’s Schindler’s List did not try to amend his movie to look more comfortable. The historical Gettysburg movie (1993) is still on iTunes,” Game-Labs noted in a blog post on its website. “We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results. … We can’t change history, but we can change the future.”
The firestorm of political correctness focusing on ending public displays of the Confederate flag hit retailers such as Walmart and Sears earlier this week, and online retailers followed suit. All of these major retailers agreed to remove Confederate flags and related items from their store shelves and websites.
The public outrage about the symbol of slavery and repression began kicked up late last week after the June 17th massacre of nine people by a racist thug at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Protesters in Charleston held rally on Tuesday to pressure legislators to remove the flag from the South Carolina Statehouse, which Governor Nikki Haley had already promised to do. Of note, the South Carolina House of Representatives will debate the issue within the next few days.
Confederate Flag – comment from games sector journalist
Banning these kind of strategy simulation games is misguided political correctness, according journalist Jeff Grubb on news site GamesBeat. “It isn’t just pulling consumer products like mugs that feature the stars and bars. It is banning creative expression from its App Store, which is one of the largest digital-distribution channels on the planet,” he noted. “This means that if you want to make a game about the Civil War, you cannot accurately portray the symbols of that conflict.”
The move by Apple is likely a PR move that could be a step too far – wether the ban will remain is anyone’s guess.
What could be banned next? Here is a list from McClatchy