Reasons I don’t like Apple #642

All right, I haven’t really gone through and numbered my reasons for disliking Apple or Apple’s products, but I’ve never made any bones about not liking Apple’s products or companies, for reasons ranging from a lack of hardware customisation options in their desktop PCs to their incredibly high price points, to their attempts to retain customers by implementing technological barriers. Now there’s a new reason: they’re perfectly willing to support homophobia and homosexual ‘reprogramming’.

Article reproduced below:

Apple ‘gay-cure’ app severely slapped

Jobs forced to choose between Christian chums and gay BFF

By Jane Fae Ozimek 18th March

Apple is today accused of anti-gay discrimination, following the release of an iPhone app that aims to help people find “freedom from homosexuality”.

A petition has been launched by Truth Wins Out, which describes itself as a non-profit organisation that fights anti-gay religious extremism on the change.org website, asking Steve Jobs to intervene to remove the app. The app is the work of the Exodus International ministry.

In a letter which those supporting their petition sign up to receive, they write: “Apple has long been a friend of the LGBT community, opposing California’s Proposition 8, removing the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration iPhone app, and earning a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

“I am shocked that this same company has given the green light to an app from a notoriously anti-gay organization like Exodus International that uses scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients, endorses the use of so-called ‘reparative therapy’ to ‘change’ the sexual orientation of their clients.”

According to TWO, “reparative therapy” has been roundly condemned by every major professional medical organisation. The petition launched last week and has already attracted some 17,000 signatures: however, as word of the app spreads, the rate at which individuals are signing up appears to be snowballing.

Exodus International claims to be “the world’s largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality”. On its site, Exodus states that it “upholds heterosexuality as God’s creative intent for humanity, and subsequently views homosexual expression as outside of God’s will”.

Their new smartphone app was released last week and is “now available through iTunes”. According to Exodus, this app has received a 4+ rating from Apple and “applications in this category contain no objectionable material”. They conclude: “This application is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders.”

TWO are unimpressed. Describing the app as “unacceptable”, and requesting its immediate removal, they warn Apple: “Your company would never allow a racist or anti-Semitic app to be sold in the iTunes store, and for good reason. Apple’s approval of the anti-gay Exodus International app represents a double standard for the LGBT community with potentially devastating consequences for our youth.”

We have asked Apple whether it intends to take any action in respect of this app, but so far have received no response.

Unfortunately for Apple, it may shortly have to chose between offending its Christian base and its gay base. Both have significant spending power, and we suspect this is an issue it would rather just went away.

However, when faced with a similar issue last November, after an app was created around the Manhattan Declaration which is hostile to gay marriage, Apple came down on the side of gay rights and removed the app.

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So what does this history tell us? It suggests to me that Apple as a corporation either believes that homosexuality is a curable disease, or they’re perfectly okay with allowing people to treat it as such if it turns them a quick buck selling apps. Jane Ozimek notes that Apple has two very powerful customer bases in the form of the GLBT community and the conservative Christian community (although the latter is something I find very surprising). Her article suggests that Apple has allowed anti-gay apps through in the past (whether by mistake or otherwise) before removing them. However, I find it very telling that the Exodus app received a rating of 4 from Apple itself, which indicates that in Apple’s view, the app contained no objectionable content.

This means that either someone who was authorised to speak on Apple’s behalf finds nothing objectionable about spreading homophobia and endorsing misinformation about homosexuality, or that Apple as a corporation is banking on the hope that they can take the app down soon, apologise, and in the meantime make money off sales of the app to it’s Christian customer base not caring about the negative social impact or consequences it’s money grabbing tactics can have on at risk individuals.

Either way, I am unimpressed. If it is the former, then I question how it is that Apple either has a corporate culture and set of values that endorses homophobia, or how Apple’s spokesperson guidelines were so insufficient as to allow an individual authorised spokesperson to make such a statement. If it is the latter, then I question the ethics of both Apple as a business, and the individual consumer in supporting such a business that clearly puts making a small profit above the sexual equality, anti-discrimination and corporate social responsibility.

It is entirely possible that Apple is banking on the fact that it can beg forgiveness continually while continuing to pursue either a homophobic agenda or supporting the homophobic agenda of others to make a quick buck in the window of opportunity between publishing an app, and apologising and pulling it down. Regardless of which option is reflective of the truth, I do not see Apple as a company worth supporting, or forgiving.

From this point forward I am officially boycotting Apple’s products. Not because I don’t approve of their pricing or don’t like their products. I am boycotting Apple because they are either homophobic or exploiting homophobia for profit–actually, I think exploiting homophobia for profit is the same thing as being homophobic. In the past I have said “I don’t like Apple’s products, but if they made something I was convinced was amazing, I’d buy it”. This is no longer the case. Until I am convinced that Apple will not support or attempt to profit off homophobia in any way, I will never buy any Apple product, no matter how amazing it may be.

I invite you to join me.

 

 

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  1. I find this absolutely deplorable, and I think these so-called “Christian” groups who espouse reformation of what they don’t like (or couldn’t be bothered to understand) are malignant and soul-destroying parasites. And how do they know what “God’s creative intent” is anyway? Sure, there is the Bible, but I think it’s fairly well-known now that the fundamentalists like to pick and choose what they quote, allowing some actions and condemning others. BUT, having stated this, I think it’s clear what Apple’s intent is: to make money. Apple is a business, and that is its purpose. And I think it’s clear that the real issue here is whether this app violates free speech. Are they (Exodus or even Apple for that matter) encouraging anyone to go out and kill homosexuals? If so, then they need to be shut down immediately. If their purpose is to help those who wish to live as heterosexuals, then that’s a different story. OUR purpose is to see through all the well-turned phrases and biblical quotes and make decisions that are based on our own personal feelings and beliefs. I find organizations like Exodus reprehensible and would not, therefore, lend any credence to anything they promote/say/publish. It is up to each of us to sift through the debris and decide what we believe and what we do not believe. If organizations like Exodus exist, it is because there are still too many people out there who buy what they’re selling (and please do not think for one moment that business is not booming!). And if Apple can make money off of it, it will. Don’t buy the app – obviously – but if we boycott every company that is even remotely homophobic, what remains? Do I stop shopping at Safeway because the stock boys call each “fag” as in insult? Do I report them just because they don’t know any better? Do I stop shopping there because they carry iTunes gift cards? Do I stop shopping there because they’ve hired a cashier who assumes I’m shopping for my wife? Where do WE draw the line as rational, intelligent homosexuals? Would our energies not be better spent helping those younger LGBT adolescents learn that there is nothing wrong with them, instead of wasting our energies screaming at these kinds of organizations that will never go away? There are battles we will win and there are battles we have lost before we’ve even begun to fight. I think it’s time we spend more time and energy helping the future LGBT generation win the most important battle, which is not hating what they see in the mirror every morning. And that will only happen when those of us who’ve already been through the struggle – and survived – give them our FULL attention.

  2. A very good question. I am not advocating yelling at Apple. I am not advocating the writing of angry letters and the picketing of its stores or offices (although if you want to, go ahead). I am advocating that we, as intelligent, rational homosexuals, vote with our feet and our wallets.

    The reason I find Apple’s actions deplorable are because the decision to officially rate the Exodus app at 4 would have to be made by an authorised Apple staff member–not an entry level potentially ignorant teenager working the front desk. As such I believe that very act speaks volumes about Apple’s corporate culture and values.

    Further, Apple produces luxury goods at outrageously high price points. Boycotting Apple is a very simple decision to make and not only will it help your bank balance, but it can be done while you focus on the future LGBT generation. If the gay community stopped buying the iPods, iPads and iPhones and went with an HTC Smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy or a Creative MuVo, we would send a very powerful message to Apple–acting in a socially irresponsible manner will adversely affect your bottom line. The other option would be to make a concerted effort to buy 51% of Apple’s stock and force the hand of the board of directors, but I think a boycott would be more feasible, and as you say, allow us to focus more effectively on the next generation of LGBT youth.

    • David B on 21 March, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Why is no one complaining about the Grindr app? The Exodus International app offers help for someone who has found the homosexual lifestyle doesn’t work for them. Grinder offers the opposite. It offers a secret place for lots of married men to hook up with other men… helping to ruin marriages and families. If someone wants to keep their family and get help, Exodus is a much better choice than the Grindr app.

  3. I’m inclined to give this one the benefit of the doubt. Apple’s app review system is far from perfect — this has long been known. Personally, I attribute this to the opacity of the process and a probable lack of double-marking from the review team. I’d bet money that the app will be removed as soon as someone with authority there notices it. As you yourself pointed out, when this has happened in the past Apple has come down firmly on the progressive side. I certainly don’t think this represents the company’s actual position, given Steve Jobs’ right-hand man and probable successor is one of the most powerful gay men in the world. Hysterical overreacting, boycotting and antagonistic fingerpointing won’t have any more effect than giving the benefit of the doubt, alerting Apple that this one got through, and trusting them to do the same thing they’ve always done in such situations.

    I’d also bet money that if it got out that Apple hadn’t let it through in the first place, there’d be an outcry from those who disapprove of its app review process altogether that the company was stifling free speech.

  4. Grinder is hardly secret. If anything, it would allow a suspicious wife or investigator to load it up and go… oh look, he’s married. It also does not spread misinformation or attempt to convert straight men into something they are not–it is purely an opt in app that provides user submitted information to other users with the informed consent of all involved.

    Further, if a married man (and in this context I mean a man married to a woman) is using Grinder, and that man is not doing so with his wife’s blessing (which dos happen), I would question why he has been married in the first place. I would argue that the societal pressure from places such as Exodus are part of the root problem leading homosexual men to deny their sexuality and lead unhappy lives, marrying a woman and attempting to be happy, while finding outlets in clandestine sexual encounters. They should have come out as gay and not married in the first place and society should have supported them in doing so.

    David, your argument that the only options of getting help is a choice between Exodus and Grinder is fallacious. Grinder is a dating and/or cruising app and Exodus is an app that spreads religious dogma that goes against our society’s medical knowledge. If a gay man in an unhappy straight marriage wants to keep his family and get help… well, the start would be honesty and quite possibly seeking the help of an enlightened, non-judgemental, secular psychiatrist. Exodus hardly offers that.

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