Apple reinstates select games with Confederate flag art to iOS App Store

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2015
Apple on Friday reinstated a number of games recently stricken from the iOS App Store for bearing references to the Confederate battle flag, a polarizing symbol that some equate to slavery in America.




Game-Labs, whose app Ultimate General: Gettysburg was pulled from the App Store on Thursday, announced it reached an understanding with Apple last night and would consequently restart sales of the American Civil War battle simulator.

"Ultimate General is back. Unchanged," the developers said in a blog post update. "After several late night phone calls with Apple yesterday and today the game has returned to Appstore the way it was... in 1863."

When Ultimate General: Gettysburg was first taken down as part of a larger culling, Game-Labs refused Apple's request to remove depictions of the Confederate flag, claiming such a change would be incongruent with the highly detailed and historically accurate Civil War engagement simulator.

The flag pattern technically started life as the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia before being adopted as the Confederacy's second national flag, the Confederate Navy Jack and other military standards of the era. Following the South's defeat, the flag for many stood as a commemoration of fallen soldiers. In the 1940s, it was resurrected as a political call to arms against federal civil rights initiatives.

For its part, Apple stated only games that use the Confederate flag in "offensive and mean-spirited" ways will be affected by the App Store policy modification. Apps depicting the flag for "educational or historical" value remain untouched.

Apple's decision to wipe Confederate flag references from the App Store was influenced by a racially motivated shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The incident left nine people dead.

A public outcry called for the flag's removal from government buildings, which subsequently bled into the consumer space with Amazon, eBay and Walmart all halting sales of Confederate flag items.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 162
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    Well, this is one step backward from the bizarre, highly emotional and reactionary decision to pull these apps in the first place.

     

    I'd really like to get a definition from Apple of what is "mean spirited" now. These rules are seemingly becoming more arbitrary and ridiculous.

  • Reply 2 of 162
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    I actually like this approach.

    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.

    Totally fair. Good call.
  • Reply 3 of 162
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rmb0037 View Post



    I actually like this approach.



    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.



    Totally fair. Good call.



    Actually, I'd like to know precisely which apps used the battle flag in a deliberately offensive and "mean spirited" way. I'd like a list and screenshots.

  • Reply 4 of 162
    Kudos to the dev for not kowtowing to the madness.
  • Reply 5 of 162
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    I actually like this approach.

    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.

    Totally fair. Good call.

    Yes, guilty until proven innocent is definitely a good idea. /s
  • Reply 6 of 162

    Ok, well this is starting to sound quite a bit more reasonable. Though I have to agree with SpamSandwich; what they deem to be "mean spirited" is certainly arbitrary and open to interpretation. 

  • Reply 7 of 162
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    I actually like this approach.

    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.

    Totally fair. Good call.

    Yeah it's a good call to take the totally fair "guilty until proven innocent" perspective....

    Are you insane?
  • Reply 8 of 162
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    Yeah it's a good call to take the totally fair "guilty until proven innocent" perspective....

    Are you insane?

    Oh boy I love the Internet. That good ole keyboard courage.

    Bottom line is this: Apple is cleaning out the apps that display the flag in an offensive manner. This app does not.

    Actually, I'd like to know precisely which apps used the battle flag in a deliberately offensive and "mean spirited" way. I'd like a list and screenshots.

    That's actually a very good observation. I don't think Apple would just remove a flag for the sake of removing the flag. Obviously there were apps out there that did display it in a mean-spirited fashion.
  • Reply 9 of 162
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    So basically an overreaction from Apple. Good to see they're backing down (at least in some instances) as it was a stupid thing to do in the first place.
  • Reply 10 of 162
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,055member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    Actually, I'd like to know precisely which apps used the battle flag in a deliberately offensive and "mean spirited" way. I'd like a list and screenshots.


     

    In what way would that benefit Apple?

  • Reply 11 of 162
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    I actually like this approach.

    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.

    Totally fair. Good call.

    So basically guilty until proven innocent? If that should be Apple's policy how did these end up on the app store in the first place?
  • Reply 12 of 162
    rogifan wrote: »
    So basically guilty until proven innocent? If that should be Apple's policy how did these end up on the app store in the first place?

    Because up to last week people weren't as insane as they are this week.
  • Reply 13 of 162

    Edited.

  • Reply 14 of 162
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    Oh boy I love the Internet. That good ole keyboard courage.

    Bottom line is this: Apple is cleaning out the apps that display the flag in an offensive manner. This app does not.
    That's actually a very good observation. I don't think Apple would just remove a flag for the sake of removing the flag. Obviously there were apps out there that did display it in a mean-spirited fashion.

    Who decides what's offensive? Some low level software engineer at Apple? I know it's their store and they can do whatever they want with it but it seems clear even Apple employees are unsure what's offensive and what's not. How about don't touch anything and if Apple starts getting complaints from people then review that specific app.
  • Reply 15 of 162
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    rogifan wrote: »
    So basically guilty until proven innocent? If that should be Apple's policy how did these end up on the app store in the first place?

    So something terrible happens in America this past week with EXTREMELY strong racial undertones, and people looked to the confederate flag as the source. People do it with guns all the time for some weird reason. I don't wholly agree with taking down the flag, but it was in apple's best interest to do something in regards to what has been going on.

    At least they didn't rip the apps out and KEPT them out. They're working with the devs. I don't see a problem.

    Guilty until proven innocent doesn't apply here because no one is in any kind of trouble. It's not like apple is now calling the feds on people who's app is now "offensive."
  • Reply 16 of 162
    radster360radster360 Posts: 544member

    I hold Apple at it's highest regards, but I am a bit concerned about the recent decision making and flip flopping that is happening and that too within a very short period of time. Tim, please reign in your Executives and let's not make habit of this. Apple doesn't need to react right away to anything. This makes you very venerable and week. Many of these external events disappear in very sort time - People have already moved on to SCOTUS decisions this week.

     

    I am sure people will forget about Apple actions in few weeks when they announce gang buster results. But let's act like #1 company that  too many years for Steve and some of you to get here. Like they say - Up Hill is hard, but it doesn't take much to go down hill! Strangely - Gravity does play it's part in strange places.

  • Reply 17 of 162
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    rogifan wrote: »
    Who decides what's offensive? Some low level software engineer at Apple? I know it's their store and they can do whatever they want with it but it seems clear even Apple employees are unsure what's offensive and what's not. How about don't touch anything and if Apple starts getting complaints from people then review that specific app.

    The American people, apple's loyal customers, are deeming it offensive.
  • Reply 18 of 162
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    The American people, apple's loyal customers, are deeming it offensive.

    Loyal Apple customer (and former shareholder) here. Not offensive.

    I highly doubt Apple got complaints. This was kneejerk, plain and simple.
  • Reply 19 of 162
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,380member
    rmb0037 wrote: »
    I actually like this approach.

    We'll remove all apps that display the Confederate flag, and we'll add them back IF the developers can justify its use in the app as a non-offensive, essential element.

    Totally fair. Good call.

    I agree but Apple failed to take into consideration the apoplexy they caused here on AI ... what were the Apple team thinking, don't they know they have to clear anything slightly politically charged with the members here first? ;)
  • Reply 20 of 162
    I agree but Apple failed to take into consideration the apoplexy they caused here on AI ... what were the Apple team thinking, don't they know they have to clear anything slightly politically charged with the members here first? ;)

    Politicians play to the base all the time. If Apple wants to be political, they should also learn how to play to their base.
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