Turns out Apple's not the villain in gay sex comic book ban after all

Contributed by
Apr 10, 2013

Remember the uproar yesterday over Apple's "ban" of issue #12 of the Saga comic book? Turns out that Apple was not the bad guy in this story arc after all.

Tuesday's news that Apple had stopped the latest issue of Saga from being available through its apps, allegedly because of two illustrations of male gay sex, caused a major flap online and throughout the comic-book universe. 

Apple was accused of "censorship," which was a blatantly inaccurate charge since Apple is not a government body. As a private company, Apple can decide what it wants to sell. But the more seemingly substantial accusation was that Apple was solely blocking the book because it depicted explicit sex between men -- whereas graphic heterosexual scenes in the same book had previously been given a pass with no problem.

Well, it turns out that none of this was Apple's fault either way. According to Cult of Mac, digital comics distributor Comixology kept the book off Apple's iOS platforms of its own accord. 

Comixology CEO David Steinberger posted a letter to customers which read:

“In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify. As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps. Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.

We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.

Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.”

Steinberger later added that after some discussion and clarification of policy with Apple, Saga #12 would be made available in the App Store shortly.

Look, most of the time, big bad corporations are just that -- big and bad, and not always acting in their customers' best interests (and we say that having worked for a couple). But in this case, it appears that the reactions came out way faster than all the facts. Having said that, should we all be more vigilant about how and why distributors and/or retailers provide us with or deny us the content that we want?