Apple has long been perceived by some to have a tilt to the left in terms of politics. The company’s culture is rooted in the politics of the San Francisco area, a place that has historically been known as a hotbed of left-wing activism on many issues. Apple’s San Francisco cultural roots have sometimes affected how submissions to the iOS App Store have been handled by app reviewers.
A recent example of this was the Capitol HillAwry game, which is a political satire of Hillary Clinton's email scandal. The app was repeatedly rejected by Apple but was finally published on the iOS App Store after intense media scrutiny of Apple and its app reviewers.
The latest casualty is a game called Build the Wall, which is not available in the iOS App Store but which is available in the Google Play Store for Android devices.
Charlie Nash reports on the controversy for Breitbart:
Build the Wall: The Game, an iPhone game created by pro-Trump internet personality Baked Alaska, has been rejected from the Apple App Store for including a cameo by Pepe the Frog.
“I had a free game coming out on iOS today for y’all, but Apple has banned it’s release due to a cartoon picture of Pepe The Frog #FreePepe,” announced Alaska (real name Timothy Treadstone) on Twitter along with a screenshot of the game and Apple’s response on Wednesday.
“It’s just a fun little game where you are building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, and as the illegal immigrants climb over the wall there’s a timer, and if you run out of time you’re out” explained Treadstone in an interview with Breitbart Tech. “Your quest is to build the highest wall.”
The game also allegedly includes Trump Steaks (which attract bald eagles to swoop down and carry the illegal immigrants away) and an array of Trump-supporting personalities such as Mike Cernovich, Alex Jones, and Treadstone himself, as well as various different memes including Pepe the Frog and Harambe.
“The hypocrisy of it is there’s dozens of Pepe the Frog apps already out on the App Store, and these are Pepe the Frog-based apps where Pepe is the icon. We merely had a cameo of Pepe,” Treadstone continued. “We get banned because it’s a pro-Trump app, but you can have an app only about Pepe and that’s not offensive.”
Pepe the Frog is all over the iOS App Store
The author of the rejected app mentioned that there were plenty of Pepe the Frog apps available in the iOS app store. So I took it on myself to see if he was right, and sure enough there were quite a few apps that featured the famous frog.
Here’s a screenshot of my search results for “pepe the frog” in iTunes:
And here are links to some of the apps that include Pepe the Frog (you can see more if you do your own search in the iOS App Store):
Apple’s political bias against Donald Trump
So clearly Apple has not had a problem releasing apps with Pepe the Frog in them. So why was the Build the Wall app rejected? Well, I’m forced to agree with the app’s author that political bias against Donald Trump was probably the reason. The app is clearly pro-Trump and that obviously rubbed the app reviewer the wrong way. Pepe the Frog seems to have been merely a convenient excuse to block the release of the app, given all of the other Pepe the Frog apps that you can download in the iOS App Store right now.
As I have noted in previous posts involving apps and politics, I voted for Trump in my state’s primary and will vote for him in November. So as a Trump voter, I find Apple’s stand on the Build the Wall app to be an obvious act of political partisanship. If the app had been created as a pro-Hillary app then I have no doubt it would be available right now, even if it included Pepe the Frog.
Such decisions by Apple might be cheered by the folks who are rooting for Hillary Clinton to win the election, but it also damages the company’s brand for the millions of people who support Trump. Who wants to financially support a company that acts in such an overtly political manner to censor app store content? By allowing left-wing politics to affect the app submissions process, Apple runs the risk of losing a significant portion of its customer base.
Apple really needs to train its app reviewing staff to learn to evaluate political apps without their own personal partisan bias getting in the way. It’s perfectly fine for Apple’s app reviewers to favor one candidate or the other, that is their right as citizens of this country.
But it’s another thing entirely for them to allow their own politics to decide which apps are available in the iOS App Store. That is unacceptable political censorship that directly affects Apple's entire customer base, and it’s something that should be dealt with head-on by Apple’s board of directors and executive leadership team.
It's time for Apple to learn to keep its left-wing, partisan politics out of the app store review process.
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