HBO Now on Apple TV highlights hypocrisy in Apple's 'no porn' rules

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2015
With the much-hyped debut of HBO Now, Apple has once again chosen to look the other way as one if its major partners leverages iOS and the Apple TV to distribute adult content -- a courtesy the company still refuses to extend to other developers.

HBO Now, which Apple chief executive Tim Cook has called an "incredible service," brings first-run movies, popular shows like Game of Thrones, and an extensive catalog of on-demand video to Apple's platforms. But it also brings something else: hours and hours of softcore porn.

Choosing the "Late Night" content option --?hidden behind the "More" menu on the Apple TV --?doesn't fill the screen with clips from Bill Maher or John Oliver. Instead, viewers are greeted with such highbrow titles as Stacked Racks From Mars, The Atomic Hotel Erotica, and Downtown Girls: Hookers of Honolulu.

This certainly isn't the first time porn has infiltrated an Apple device in this way. HBO Go and Cinemax's Max Go have long served adult content to cable subscribers on iOS, sparking the occasional kerfuffle of their own.

So what's different? This time around, there's no need to log in with cable credentials -- Apple is essentially selling porn through iTunes.

There's nothing wrong with porn, of course. The only thing wrong is Apple's double standard.

HBO gets away with it because Apple needs what HBO has. Could Apple have muscled a deal in without including pornographic content? Maybe, but they didn't.
Apple should hold its biggest partners to the same standards as the smallest iOS developer.
Apple has no problem flexing its might against smaller foes, though.

Vine was stripped of a prime placement in the App Store because users could search for #porn. Popular photosharing app 500px was pulled for the same reason, prompting Tumblr to add a warning to its own app.

Even Playboy has to bend to the App Store's rules, removing all nudity from its apps and digital magazines.

As one iTunes user said in a one-star review of Playboy Thailand, "If all you want to see i [sic] bathing suit shots, this is the mag for you. Not the playboy [sic] I'm use [sic] to."

Apple's own App Store review guidelines are clear. Section 18.1:

"Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings", will be rejected."

The massive popularity of iOS shows that end users don't mind being subjugated by Apple's moral standards. Neither do developers, for the most part.

If only those morals were the same in every situation.


  • Reply 1 of 203
    While I agree with broad sentiments expressed in this article, it should have been tagged as 'Opinion' or 'Editorial.'
  • Reply 2 of 203
    This sounds like a beat-up. While I haven't seen the shows mentioned I highly doubt that they're really pornographic. Adult oriented maybe but not genuine porn. Genuine porn would be refused R rating and not available for broadcasting in this way.

    Hasn't the author ever been to a sex shop or watched real porn on the Internet? I mean I know this is a website for nerds but come on!

    Talk about click bait!
  • Reply 3 of 203

    Oh No Oh No, we have a dilemma. What do we do now?

    How about you take your hypocrisy concerns and shove them? 

    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 4 of 203
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    HBO is not the App Store.
  • Reply 5 of 203
    [QUOTE]There's nothing wrong with porn, of course.[/QUOTE]

    Uh, a whole [I]lot[/I] of people disagree with that opinion there...

    I'm glad for Apple's smut controls, personally.
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 6 of 203

    Spot on.


    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 7 of 203
    mykemmykem Posts: 33member
    Has the author seen "Stranger by the Lake" that's been available for months on iTunes?
  • Reply 8 of 203
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member

    Wasn't it possible to purchase HBO shows through iTunes anyway?  Or movies with graphic sex scenes at the very least?

  • Reply 9 of 203
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,163member
    Give it a freaking break... Dont u have a life?
  • Reply 10 of 203
    jg711jg711 Posts: 4member
    "There's nothing wrong with porn, of course."

    This is the point I stopped taking this article seriously.
  • Reply 11 of 203
    I watched that, its super soft core. It's not porn.....
  • Reply 12 of 203
    quazzequazze Posts: 29member
    A very solid and creative journalistic approach to a questionable [and biased] tactic one could assume Apple has taken. Does valued content (and/or one with a specific power position role) gain uninterrupted access to serve mainstream digesters while other less fortunate content providers remain forbidden to access such fruits? Nicely said Sam.
  • Reply 13 of 203
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member

    What a silly and childish article. It's literally impossible for Apple to hold the EXACT standard and stance in ALL contexts, and throughout ALL their services. That does not make anyone a hypocrite. It means they are human beings who are attempting to maintain some decency and age-appropriateness for the software they sell through their own digital stores. And no, movies and video subscriptions are not identical to apps in this regard, no should they be. So whats the solution? Open the floodgates to porn, or bar absolutely everything, including popular shows like Game of Thrones? Both those moves would be utterly moronic, but I guess they'd be "consistent".. or something. 


    You want porn? Open safari on your iPhone/iPad. You have access to an infinite pool of porn, and more free, streaming video that will last you a million lifetimes. But no, that's not enough, you also demand it in your apps. Why? Why the **** should Apple be forced to distribute it through their digital store? It's their store and their rules. Seeing as how it's used by hundreds of millions of people, including millions of young kids, I don't see how you can't comprehend that they'd prefer to err on the side of caution, and look at the big picture- not just self-righteous porn addicts like you that have no subtlety in understanding the complexity of the situation. 


    PS- None of the shit you described is "porn" and iTunes has been selling movies with nudity for more than a decade. 

  • Reply 14 of 203
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
  • Reply 15 of 203
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member

    I think it's because historically computer games have been considered for children, so they have been more restricted than movies and books. But it's more acceptable for adults to game these days.

  • Reply 16 of 203
    By this logic, Apple should axe Safari ... which I'm sure is the biggest conduit for porn in Apple's ecosystem. But it was only ever a click bait article, right? I actually hope so.
  • Reply 17 of 203
    vqrovqro Posts: 66member
    lame. netflix usted to have 'nine songs' and other movies one can say are 'porn'. you're really reaching with this article.
  • Reply 18 of 203
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,575member
    This article is so wrong, the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy called and wondered if Earthlings had decided to redefine the word "wrong" to mean "completely round the bend about what porn even is." Was the author of this article raised in a convent or something?

    For starters: HBO isn't the first thing you could buy on iTunes that had boobs and buts on it. There's this thing called movies, perhaps you should check those out on the iTunes Store. PLENTY of R-rated material and even full frontal there, and has been for years. Apps that use or show nudes for anatomy, human sexuality courses, artistic masterpieces. Tons of those as well.

    Second: nudity %u2260 porn. Simulated sex %u2260 porn. Boobs and butts %u2260 porn. Erotica %u2260 porn. The shows you refer to on HBO are, simply, not porn. Porn is actual sex. Porn is close-ups on aroused genitalia. Porn is X-rated. None of this is present in anything this article makes reference to.

    Get some life experience, for heaven's sake, before you try to "titillate" readers by pretending there is porn on the iTunes Store. There isn't.
  • Reply 19 of 203
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    1) I can surf to with Safari. Does that mean Apple should remove Safari?
    2) Downtown Girls is a documentary about transexual prostitutes, not pornography.
    3) You can buy Game of Thrones and several other titles from the iTunes Store that are much, much more pornographic than the other soft core example you gave. That's direct hosting, not offering a pass through service like HBO Now.
    4) HBO Go has been available in the App Store for two years now. How is that any different than this new streaming version?

    You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, which basically negates your entire article. Well done.
  • Reply 20 of 203
    gtr wrote: »

    And easily offended adults...
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