Apple removes “Gay Cure” app from iTunes

Wed, Mar 23, 2011


Apple’s policing of the iTunes App Store has drawn a considerable amount of criticism ever since the store first launched back in July of 2008. At times Apple’s app rejections have been downright nonsensical (i.e when Tweetie was temporarily rejected due to an offensive trending topic on Twitter) while some of the apps that snuck their way into the app store are equally suspect on both moral and copyright grounds.

One of the more recent apps to bring Apple’s handling of its app store to the forefront was an app called “Gay Cure”. The app was submitted by Orlando based Christian group called Exodus International, and as the name implies, the app was dedicated to “helping homosexual strugglers”. Indeed, a quick perusal of Exodus International’s website shows an organization seemingly obsessed with “curing” homosexual behavior. Their “Exodus Students” section, for example, describes itself as “a community of people who are choosing to honor God with their sexuality…”

In any event, folks were naturally incensed that Apple would approve an app that both homosexuals and heterosexuals find so overwhelmingly offensive. The app first debuted on iTunes on February 15th and further roused the ire of the masses for sporting a 4+ rating, meaning that it housed no objectionable content.

Over the past few weeks, the pressure on Apple to remove the app started to snowball, culminating in an online petition initiated by which collected over 140,000 online signatures from people who wanted the app removed.

Now comes word that Apple did, in fact, remove the app late on Tuesday evening. Searching for the app now yields zero search result and Exodus International President Alan Chambers tweeted the following on Tuesday night.

It’s official, the @ExodusInl App is no longer in the @AppStore. Incredibly disappointing. Watch out, it could happen to you. #freedom

Apple’s removal of the app raises a number of issues regarding Apple’s sometimes murky guidelines for developers. Indeed, Apple’s app store rules are purposefully described in overarching terms to give Apple greater flexibility in exercising its discretion. Note, though, that “Gay Cure” isn’t the first app Apple’s removed for touting an “anti-homosexual” philosophy. Apple back in November removed an called the “Manhattan Declaration” which advocated the “dignity of marriage as the union of one man and on woman.”

In explaining its decision to remove the app, an Apple spokesman said at the time, “We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”


23 Comments For This Post

  1. noveltyacct Says:

    you think they’ll remove all the bible apps eventually?

  2. 832.5 Says:

    one can always hope

  3. techhead Says:

    They can’t removed the bible! I like to a good fantasy story every so often.

  4. Mike Says:

    Ah, the wittiness, the pure brilliance of anti-religious bigots in the morning.

  5. Justin Says:

    @Mike: Oh the irony.

    I wish they would at least come up with something original, rather than parroting the latest atheist buzz-phrases. Not to mention long-dead and thoroughly refuted arguments.

  6. brian Says:

    does this mean no cure?

  7. Steve Says:

    Everything is offensive to at least 140,000 people.

  8. who? Says:

    funny how you think atheists are somehow organized like christians are. we don’t get together and share “the latest” witticisms after taking the anti-sacrament. if we make fun of you and it’s funny, it’s funny because it’s true. we’re not the ones trying to cure someone of a perceived wrong doing.

  9. Reason Says:

    I’m sorry, I missed any arguments posted here, and am curious about these thoroughly refuted arguments. Please enlighten me.

  10. Wallaby Says:

    Oh man, here we go.
    @Justin: Way to generalize. Atheism isn’t a religion, and everyone has their own reason for not buying into the idea of a god (or gods). Just because these specific people who are expressing anti-christian sentiment might be acting like dumbasses doesn’t make them wrong. I didn’t really see an argument up there, so your mention of “long-dead thoroughly refuted arguments,” is a straw-man. I would also like to know which arguments have been thoroughly refuted by which side. Also, as far as parroting buzz phrases, I have a hard time talking to Christians in my area without having to figuratively swim through a sea of regurgitated misinformation and outright lies that they have been told by a religious leader. Maybe it’s different in your community (and the tone is certainly more vicious online), but most of what I’ve seen atheists do is defend their freedom from religion.

  11. Nemo Says:

    You’re all ridiculous. Atheist, religious, it doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t properly organize, you still stick together. How many atheists have friends who are hardcore Christians? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but that’s how people work. You gravitate towards the familiar and you feed on each other.

    Religion can be offensive. This is true. But Religious texts can be used so many ways. I have learned many things from religion that science could not have taught me. Likewise, I have learned many things from ignoring religious doctrines of closed-mindedness and embracing everything I find out.

    So honestly, can we end this stale ass debate over who’s belief system is more ignorant?

  12. ktxl Says:

    “So honestly, can we end this stale ass debate over who’s belief system is more ignorant?”

    Sure! *Christians* who believe in, and agree with, *dogmatic christian law*, are way more fucking ignorant than other people.

    I’m so glad I could clear that up for you.

  13. Bearcat Says:

    I think folks are missing the point. This isn’t about Atheism vs. Christianity. The app was not removed because it’s Christian, it was removed because it’s bigoted and people asked for it’s removal. I’d hope that if the KKK or the Arian Nation posted a bigoted app (they are “Christian” too) or an anti-Qi Gong app was posted that it would be removed as well.

  14. Uruguay Says:

    Guess Steve Jobs tried it and found out it didn’t work.

  15. Wallaby Says:

    “So honestly, can we end this stale ass debate over who’s belief system is more ignorant?”

    @Nemo: Probably not. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that social injustices will always exist, and nobody will ever be fully and properly educated to actually end that. I know you were trying to help stop a fire from burning, but everything you said to do so was coated in a rich layer of napalm that both sides can squabble over.

    Atheists are probably elated that a human rights victory has been won against another example of Christian bigotry. Hardcore Christians are probably upset that they are being silenced for expressing their truth and trying to help people heal. In the end, everyone loses in some way. Free speech is threatened by the very act of censoring any of the expressed opinions, which both sides can see is a problem in a country that touts free speech as an inalienable right. If it comes down to a pissing match to keep that freedom, then so be it. I may not like what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

  16. IPB322 Says:

    I think Apple handled this badly. I think they should have pushed Exodus International to change the name and content. Exodus should have the right to offer a tool for people that would chose religion of their own desires.

  17. genghis khan Says:

    I’ve got a cure for radical religion, 45-lobotomy.

  18. david Says:

    The app was not the point, but getting there message out was. Think about it.

  19. jim Says:

    so what was the cure? did it involve strippers?

  20. Charle Says:

    Man, there IS an app for everything isn’t there.

  21. Lily Says:

    Yeah, why does apple hassle other apps and make ridiculous claims about their content, but then approves bigoted trash like this?

  22. Zoe Says:

    Nobody is forced to download any app, but as long as Apple controls what apps are available for it’s phones they need to enforce it evenly.

  23. ProNorden Says:

    That’s why it’s called ‘Homo-fascism’, except by the Homofascists.

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