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Comixology, not Apple, responsible for comic book's censorship [updated]

post #1 of 146
Thread Starter 
A brief row over claims of censorship saw resolution on Wednesday, with comic app Comixology taking the blame for preemptively censoring a comic featuring gay sex, clearing Apple of any such accusations in the process.

Saga


[Update] Following the uproar over the supposed banning of Saga #12, comic publishing app Comixology has stepped forward to take the blame. In a letter published by Kotaku, Comixology stated that it had preemptively held back publication of Saga #12 in anticipation that the issue's graphic content would be in violation of Apple's App Store rules.

"Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12," Comixology's letter states. The issue will be available for purchase in the app in the near future.


Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga released its twelfth issue this week, and contained within it are what Vaughan describes as "two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex." The postage stamp-sized images were enough to get the comic banned, though, as Vaughan noted (via Newsarama) in a letter to readers on Staples' Tumblr page.

When the issue did not show up in popular comic publishing app Comixology, observers jumped to the conclusion that Apple had censored it over its depiction of sex.

Marketed from its first issue as a title for "mature readers," Saga has never shied away from graphic depictions of sex and violence. The images in question depict a sex act between two men. Apple's App Store regulations prohibit any such depiction, and the company has barred all apps from selling the comic. Saga has in the past, though, shown rather graphic depictions of heterosexual sex acts.

Image PR director Jennifer de Guzman told The Beat that the sex in previous issues didn't show genitalia, and thus wasn't unacceptable by Apple's standards. Comics writer Matt Fraction, though, took to Twitter [Warning: links to illustrated sexual content] to note that Apple was apparently okay with the heterosexual acts depicted in issue number four of Saga.

"Heteronormative penetration in SAGA #4," reads Fraction's post, implying that Apple's issue is not with the depiction of sex, but with the genders of the illustrated persons involved.

Image representatives have suggested that readers pick up the issue directly from Image's site or from their local comic store.

This is not the first time that Apple has come under fire for alleged censorship of material involving same-sex couples. In 2010, Apple reportedly censored a gay kiss in Tom Bouden's graphic novel adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest. While the app contained no full nudity, it was initially rejected, only to be approved when resubmitted with the gay kiss covered by black blocks.

Outside the confines of the App Store, Apple appears to have no problem with same-sex relationships, having donated $100,000 to fight California's anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8 in 2008. In February of this year, Apple joined along with other large corporations expressing support for same-sex marriage as the issue moves before the United States Supreme Court.
post #2 of 146

Um . . . what?

 

Everyone knows Apple's stance on sexually-explicit material. 

 

This falls under that policy, whether it's "gay sex" or not. 

 

I don't get what the fuss is about. 

post #3 of 146

The odd thing is that Apple would allow such content in a film or TV show on the iTunes store. 

 

There's far, far more sexually explicit material on iTunes than this comic.

post #4 of 146

Everybody knows that Apple is extremely conservative when it comes to sexually related kinds of things.

 

It's not like the CEO of Apple is a homophobe or anything like that, so these gay whiners, whining about their gay comic getting censored should just STFU.

post #5 of 146
It's also possible that they were not aware of the sex in previous issues. Who knows how they found about about the 'gay sex' in that issue. Until we have all the facts it's hard to say anything but they don't go through every item in all their stores, app internal stores etc. so it's not far fetched to wonder what they knew about the series before now.

And it's not as if they have really and truly banned the issue. You can't buy it in app and in the next few days the rest might be banned for graphic sex as well now that articles have pointed out the presence. But guess what, I went to the comixology website in a Mobile Safari on my iPad bought the issue and it shows up just fine in my app. Just Iike countless other issues of all sorts of titles I've bought from the website. If Apple really wanted to ban it they would make comixology come up with a way that anyone going to the site from an Apple whatever can't see that issue and even if they figure out how to buy it off a PC it won't download to anything Apple.

And it is possible due to the vastness of state laws that it might be illegal to sell that issue because some states may deem depictions of gay sex as obscene, which means Apple would be breaking a serious law. At this point they likely don't have tech in place to tell where you are and block you cause you are in one of those states so they pull the items all together.
post #6 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Everybody knows that Apple is extremely conservative when it comes to sexually related kinds of things.

 

It's not like the CEO of Apple is a homophobe or anything like that, so these gay whiners, whining about their gay comic getting censored should just STFU.

 

But if you read the article, they HAVE allowed similar heterosexual scenes.

 

The "whine" is true. The comic WAS censored. Intentional or not (and given the hate too many people--like you--have, it could well be intentional) it did happen. It seems you'd also like to censor anyone who points out that fact? Interesting.

 

Hopefully this is just the bigoted decision of one reviewer, or simple mistake (either with this issue or previous ones) and like past Apple approval mistakes, can be corrected. Hopefully in a productive way.

 

Apple's larger issue (mirroring the US's issues as a whole!) with censoring a little nudity while allowing brutal gory violence, is still messed up. Allow both... with a proper rating so people/parents can control what they're getting. And don't treat apps differently from books/film/music. A comic is art whether it arrives through the iBooks Store or the App Store. Games too.

post #7 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

 

But if you read the article, they HAVE allowed similar heterosexual scenes.

 

The "whine" is true. The comic WAS censored. Intentional or not (and given the hate people like you have it could well be intentional) it did happen. It seems you'd also like to censor anyone who points out that fact? Interesting.

 

Hopefully this is just the bigoted decision of one reviewer, or simple mistake (either with this issue or previous ones) and like past Apple approval mistakes, can be corrected. Hopefully in a productive way.

 

Apple's larger issue (mirroring the US's issues as a whole!) with censoring a little nudity while allowing brutal gory violence, is still messed up. Allow both... with a proper rating so people/parents can control what they're getting.

The images in question depict a sex act between two men. Apple's App Store regulations prohibit any such depiction, and the company has barred all apps from selling the comic.

 

It seems pretty clear to me that this gay comic is in violation of the rules. Maybe something else slipped through in the past, but that is no excuse to bend the rules for the comic in this article.

 

This is like that story from yesterday, when some app developer, who had an app that nobody had ever heard about, got his app rejected from the app store, and then whined about how it was originally accepted. Well, Apple is not perfect, and maybe they made a mistake in the past, and they have now corrected that mistake.

post #8 of 146
The comic is in clear violation of the rules, they should stop their whining.
post #9 of 146
I think it's the depiction of "genitalia" that broke the rules.

The rules differ between Apps and itunes media.

Good PR for the comic writers: using the words "gay" and "ban" will get the liberals screaming foul!
post #10 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

 

But if you read the article, they HAVE allowed similar heterosexual scenes.

 

The "whine" is true. The comic WAS censored. Intentional or not (and given the hate too many people--like you--have, it could well be intentional) it did happen. It seems you'd also like to censor anyone who points out that fact? Interesting.

 

Hopefully this is just the bigoted decision of one reviewer, or simple mistake (either with this issue or previous ones) and like past Apple approval mistakes, can be corrected. Hopefully in a productive way.

 

Apple's larger issue (mirroring the US's issues as a whole!) with censoring a little nudity while allowing brutal gory violence, is still messed up. Allow both... with a proper rating so people/parents can control what they're getting. And don't treat apps differently from books/film/music. A comic is art whether it arrives through the iBooks Store or the App Store. Games too.

 

I'll just give your reasoning one big thumbs up. Couldn't have said it better myself.
 

post #11 of 146

Gotta love that image of a nursing mother with a pistol. 

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post #12 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Good PR for the comic writers: using the words "gay" and "ban" will get the liberals screaming foul!

 

If somebody is looking for some free advertising, all they have to do is make something that they know will get rejected or censored, and then they can whine about it afterwards and get some free publicity for their product that not many people have heard about.

 

I'm going to release a comic next month called When Harry met Harry. It will feature a huge gay orgy spread out over 5 pages, and when Apple rejects it, I will cry foul that the evil Apple has censored my "art".

post #13 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The images in question depict a sex act between two men. Apple's App Store regulations prohibit any such depiction, and the company has barred all apps from selling the comic.

 

Perhaps the story should've read, "Apple's Store regulations prohibit any depiction of sex" (thus not limiting it to gay sex).

 

In that case, it is discrimination, since male genitalia are clearly evident (in the background, having sex) in the Twitter post linked to in the main story, and that issue wasn't banned. Either ban them both, or let them both through. You can't have one without the other. 1wink.gif

post #14 of 146

And cue all the hand-wringing and shrieking, by people who have never heard of this app and would never have downloaded it, picking up the torch of righteousness against this ban by the evil and dictatorial Apple. Woe is us, think of the children! If only Apple's CEO wasn't so bigoted against gays, this could all have been avoided. 

 

Meanwhile, 60,000 apps just got removed from the Google play store. Yet, this one app has already made much bigger headlines, as expected. Because, "open" and stuff. 

 

People with no perspective, foaming at the mouth on internet messageboards, needs to understand that Apple doesn't cater their business around them. It considers parents, etc, and the trust the might lose Apple when they find out you can easily download an app which depicts explicit gay sex scenes, and how this would erode the family friendly image of the company. 

 

And let's address the elephant in the room: Yes, more people have an issue with depiction of gay sex than straight sex. Let's not pretend otherwise in order to be politically correct. There's no reason why Apple shouldn't also take this into account. 

post #15 of 146
Some of you people are really obnoxious. If you look at the image offered up from issue 4, there is male genitalia visible in the issue accepted for publishing. It's pretty clear that it's a "normative" issue. Calling out "gay" this and "gay" that as if you're insulting people using the word, and whining about "whining liberals" makes you look like a 12-year-old bigot. Grow the hell up.

Apple has been inconsistent. They can fix this one of two ways. It would reflect better on them to do either, because inconsistency here reveals a bias that is elderly and unworthy of respect.

If this is the only type of "news" source you read regularly, you might want to expand your horizons a bit and see how the world around you is maturing and growing up. Arbitrary/religious norms eventually change as society throws off the irrationality. This is how it works. Deal with it. If you have gender/sexuality insecurities, that's fine, but you have no right to force your preferences upon others. Sticking your head in the ground and name calling doesn't endear yourself to anyone but other narrow minded conservatives. Which are actually not the majority. Time doesn't stand still for your social phobias and insecurities.
post #16 of 146
Here we go again. The gay community is a bunch of cry babies. Always expecting someone to give into their demands.
post #17 of 146

And what's with the "heteronormative" crap? Is that some sort of gay hipster speak?

post #18 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The images in question depict a sex act between two men. Apple's App Store regulations prohibit any such depiction, and the company has barred all apps from selling the comic.

 

I'm not aware of App Store regulations that specifically prohibit sex acts between two men. If there are such gender-specific regulations, then I hope they keep whining because that would be serious wrong of Apple. Either ban all sex acts or allow them all. This should not be gender-specific.

 

The heading of this article clearly refers to a double standard being the issue. Yet you are avoiding that to attack Saga; interesting.

 

Furthermore, how they can allow Basic Instinct to be available on iTunes and yet ban some of the stuff they do is a serious issue that should be addressed. 


Edited by stelligent - 4/10/13 at 11:04am
post #19 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHead75 View Post

Here we go again. The gay community is a bunch of cry babies. Always expecting someone to give into their demands.

 

Your right, I couldn't stand Martin Luthor Kings whining either, who needs equality, its not promised in our constitiution or anything...

 

/S if actually needed

post #20 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHead75 View Post

Here we go again. The gay community is a bunch of cry babies. Always expecting someone to give into their demands.

There is a difference between fighting for one's rights and expecting others to give into their demands. There is no denying that the gay community has long been the victims of bias. Having been denied basic rights for such a long time, it is perfectly understandable that they stand up for their themselves.

post #21 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The odd thing is that Apple would allow such content in a film or TV show on the iTunes store. 

 

There's far, far more sexually explicit material on iTunes than this comic.

 

There's absolutely nothing "odd" about this. Apple explicitly states in their guidelines that they have different policies on media (TV/movies/books/music) and apps. You can't set policy with such a broad stroke on absolutely all types of digital content. 

post #22 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

And what's with the "heteronormative" crap? Is that some sort of gay hipster speak?

And what if it is?

 

 

Is picking on this issue some sort redneck, religious zealot speak? I am being satirical because I don't think it is. But let's stay away from stereotyping one way or the other?

post #23 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

 

There's absolutely nothing "odd" about this. Apple explicitly states in their guidelines that they have different policies on media (TV/movies/books/music) and apps. You can't set policy with such a broad stroke on absolutely all types of digital content. 

Possibly not. But Apple can only gain from having their policies challenged, reviewed and revised from time to time.

post #24 of 146
Bad Apple! Double standard when they allow it in iTunes,. and hey, Tim Cook is gay, right?
What's the problem if they showed hetero sex before!
post #25 of 146
@charlituna So gay sex is more obscene that ungay sex?

That line of reasoning is bizarre, I'd even go sofar as to say it's queer thinking.

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post #26 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baka-Dubbs View Post

 

Your right, I couldn't stand Martin Luthor Kings whining either, who needs equality, its not promised in our constitiution or anything...

 

/S if actually needed

 

Yeah, poor gay people. Their explicitly pornographic comic got rejected by Apple.lol.gif

 

They should march on Cupertino. Next thing you know, Apple will have separate water fountains in their new spaceship campus, one for straight people and one for gays and all other kinds of people.

post #27 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Um . . . what?

 

Everyone knows Apple's stance on sexually-explicit material. 

 

This falls under that policy, whether it's "gay sex" or not. 

 

I don't get what the fuss is about. 

 

Read the article. It's a bout only censoring mildly explicit material that is gay but not similar straight material.

I actually downloaded the free first issue of 'Saga' when it came out. Based on that, it seems quite well done and tasteful to me.

Apple has always had this problem. They need to get out of the censorship business and simply enable people to choose for themselves and their children. It's not fricking rocket surgery!

post #28 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by "Apple 
[" url="/t/156901/critics-cry-double-standard-after-apple-censors-comic-on-ipad-for-gay-sex#post_2308089"]
Everybody knows that Apple is extremely conservative when it comes to sexually related kinds of things.

It's not like the CEO of Apple is a homophobe or anything like that, so these gay whiners, whining about their gay comic getting censored should just STFU.

But if you read the article, they HAVE allowed similar heterosexual scenes.

The "whine" is true. The comic WAS censored. Intentional or not (and given the hate too many people--like you--have, it could well be intentional) it did happen. It seems you'd also like to censor anyone who points out that fact? Interesting.

Hopefully this is just the bigoted decision of one reviewer, or simple mistake (either with this issue or previous ones) and like past Apple approval mistakes, can be corrected. Hopefully in a productive way.

Apple's larger issue (mirroring the US's issues as a whole!) with censoring a little nudity while allowing brutal gory violence, is still messed up. Allow both... with a proper rating so people/parents can control what they're getting. And don't treat apps differently from books/film/music. A comic is art whether it arrives through the iBooks Store or the App Store. Games too.

No. Read the article yourself. The previously cited sex scene didn't show genetelia which appears to be what actually violates the rules in this case.
post #29 of 146
It seems obvious that this is getting attention because somebody wants to insinuate that Apple is either homophobic, hypocritical or too conservative. Do we know the exact circumstances around how this got pulled? Did someone at Apple just find it? Or did a customer complain about it?
post #30 of 146

@quadra60: I still believe that this, in particular, should be burnt down by the top US court... just as the ban on TV showing nipples.

 

The very idea that nipples are obscene is obscene to me.

Political men arguing for months when billions that governments actually don't have (think US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece... ) get spent every day... that's obscene.

Trillions being put in wars and weapons (making some companies very, very profitable in the process), while the Space Program is almost halted and US citizens actually have to pay for their education, stopping millions of minds from reaching their full potential and making the world a less desirable place than it could/should be, that's obscene.

Huge banks getting their ass saved when individuals get destroyed (US, but also Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Spain), that's obscene.

Banking "management" (can you be called a manager when you actually only have the advantage, but not the responsibilities?) getting out of the crisis with bonuses that dwarf the debts of the individuals they ran into the grinder? That's obscene.

Apple's current market value, with all we know? That's obscene.

 

 

 

Obscene is, and should not, be judged by religious standards. Especially so horribly outdated ones,

 

Infringing on others' happiness, health? That's obscene. Creating depictions of sex that you can see after being explicitely warned you might see that? It's NOT obscene.

 

I understand that Apple needs to protect itself, but surely a company with that much cash and the ability to successfully defend its tax "advantages" (think havens...) could do something about making sure "obscenity" gets a 21st century definition, instead of the one drafted by the same guys that made Witchcraft a deadly crime in the State of Delaware?

 

By the way, you can still get someone hanged in Delaware for Witchcraft. What a modern place.


Edited by lightknight - 4/10/13 at 11:20am

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post #31 of 146

It's really weird that there are censorship fans.

post #32 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

 

Yeah, poor gay people. Their explicitly pornographic comic got rejected by Apple.lol.gif

 

They should march on Cupertino. Next thing you know, Apple will have separate water fountains in their new spaceship campus, one for straight people and one for gays and all other kinds of people.

Seriously, look up the image that got it banned.  It is a postage stamp sized image on 1 page of a comic book in a highly regarded series.  Its not a pornoghraphic comic, although it is more geared for adults. 

 

I don't have issues with Apple curating the app store.  If they don't want sex in the store, thats their choice.  But it should be applied equally(and the prior issues that included genitalia could have been a simple oversight and they may be removed).  As for you, are you so much of a fanboy you will defend any action, or are you a homophobe?  Why is equal rights such a terrible thing?

post #33 of 146
Originally Posted by satch View Post
Bad Apple! Double standard when they allow it in iTunes,. and hey, Tim Cook is gay, right?
What's the problem if they showed hetero sex before!

 

It's not like they have real human beings who make mistakes reviewing these things.  Come on Apple, whip those robots into shape!

 
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post #34 of 146

Anyone who's being paying attention knows Apple is not an anti-gay company - never have been. They also know that these decisions are often not consistent because they're decided by different people each time. It's like carrying a pocket knife through airport security - sometimes it gets through, sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't, someone always says "well, I flew with this knife before" as if that's a real argument. It isn't.

 

Also, anyone paying attention also knows that apps carry more stringent content restrictions than books, movies, and music. Why? Because for some reason, their customers see apps differently. When a book or album is sold with "explicit" content, customers credit (or blame) the author or musician. When an app is sold with it, for some reason, they credit (or blame) Apple. No, it's not right, but that's the way it is. Perhaps because you can buy the albums, movies, and books in lots of places, but you can only buy apps from Apple. Who knows? Apple could change that thinking by explaining that developers are responsible for the content, but they feel they'll lose a large portion of their customers if they do that, and are not willing to take the risk. It all comes down to dollars.

post #35 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

It seems obvious that this is getting attention because somebody wants to insinuate that Apple is either homophobic, hypocritical or too conservative. Do we know the exact circumstances around how this got pulled? Did someone at Apple just find it? Or did a customer complain about it?

Didn't apple get in hot water for donating 800 000 to lobbying FOR gay marriage in california back when the proposition vote was going on?

 

Apple defended the decision as a humanitarian, not a political one (they are supposed to be politically neutral)

post #36 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Either ban all sex acts or allow them all.

Really? If one, then allow them 'all'?
post #37 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Read the article. It's a bout only censoring mildly explicit material that is gay but not similar straight material.
I actually downloaded the free first issue of 'Saga' when it came out. Based on that, it seems quite well done and tasteful to me.
Apple has always had this problem. They need to get out of the censorship business and simply enable people to choose for themselves and their children. It's not fricking rocket surgery!
Considering the issues they've had with kids and in-App purchases I'm sure the last think Apple wants some local news story goes national about parents outraged that their kids were downloading sexually explicit content from the App Store. All the more reason for Apple to allow multiple users on their iOS devices. At the same time it doesn't bother me that they try to keep the App Store free of explicit content. If people really need it there are plenty of other places to get it.
post #38 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

Didn't apple get in hot water for donating 800 000 to lobbying FOR gay marriage in california back when the proposition vote was going on?

Apple defended the decision as a humanitarian, not a political one (they are supposed to be politically neutral)
I'm sure they did. Which is why I find it laughable that this is getting attention because it involves gay sex. Perhaps it's as someone else said, because this issue featured genitalia and others didn't? Or maybe some didn't catch the other one but caught this one?
post #39 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

It seems obvious that this is getting attention because somebody wants to insinuate that Apple is either homophobic, hypocritical or too conservative. Do we know the exact circumstances around how this got pulled? Did someone at Apple just find it? Or did a customer complain about it?


Even if a customer complained about t, it doesn't make it right to pull it. I agree we do need more information, but if the reason is as explained that there is gay sex, when non-gay sex is ok, then its clearly unfair and homophobic. And on top of it, see my rant, it's not a XXIst century decision.

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post #40 of 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post


No. Read the article yourself. The previously cited sex scene didn't show genetelia which appears to be what actually violates the rules in this case.

 

Perhaps you didn't really look?

I see male genitalia in this image from issue #4 (linked in article above [with it's "Warning: links to illustrated sexual content"])

https://twitter.com/mattfraction/status/321718975543246848/photo/1

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