Apple Shoots Down Obama's Hope

Out of all the garbage the Apple App scientists have approved this year alone--child porn, shaking babies--it stands to question why the company would even consider rejecting artwork--and decent artwork at that--depicting President Barack Obama. Start Mobile, the company inserting an iPhone version of the Obama "Hope" artwork into its latest app, is probably wondering the same thing after a long run of approvals (18) from Apple. The App that contains the artwork, Start Mobile's Wallpaper Gallery (v1.0), also contains additional images, however the App and the other images aren't the problem, just Obama's face.

Supporters of Barack Obama are already aware of the "Hope" poster, created by Shepard Fairey, which depicts the hopeful democratic presidential candidate in red, white, and blue. It's awesome, it's inspiring, and entirely all-American. So what's the deal? Why did Apple reject the artwork? That's a good question, and here's the answer Apple provided the company:

"It contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states: 'Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.'"

With that said Apple thus requested that Start Mobile make the necessary changes and resubmit the application.

After receiving Apple's rejection letter, John Doffing of Start Mobile fired back an email along with the image in question, asking rather nicely just what the company was talking about. There's nothing in the image that ridicules a public figure, nor is it obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory in any way. Readers who have kept up with Apple's App blunders over the years certainly know Obama's poster is unlike many of the obscene images that have slipped through Apple's finely-tunes senses. In fact, Shepard Fairey's depiction has been included in the National Portrait Gallery.

As Tech Crunch points out, Start Mobile has three other apps featuring the works of Shepherd Fairey already available in the App Store. Additionally, other approved applications are using the image and variations thereof. One application even uses an altered version of the Hope image as an icon, yet Apple won't approve the version Star Mobile submitted. Doffing said that Start Mobile has another app waiting for approval, it too containing a different piece of artwork depicting the president, and it's put on hold for the same reason.

Of course, Start Mobile could remove the images in question and resubmit the apps, but honestly, why should they? It's President Barack Obama! Doffing told Tech Crunch that the whole Obama image debate is just another case of the App Store approval process "gone off the tracks." Is it surprising? After the boobs, the child porn, and the shaking baby app infiltrating the Store, we believe it wholeheartedly.

Infuriated, Doffing contact Apple directly a few weeks ago where he was told that apps containing images of Obama were being rejected automatically thanks to the election back in February. Apparently, there was a lot of "incendiary political content" coming through the Apple App Store approval process, and according to Doffing, sometimes "the baby is thrown out with the bathwater." With that said, the rejection of the Obama image may not have anything to do with the actual depiction, but the amount of Obama material coming into the approval gates during the last five months.

Still, the rejection letter dates back to May, so we're not buying the excuse. As shown throughout this article, this latest rejection is just another example that Apple's approval process is broken and seriously needs an overhaul. Developers aren't making money when Apple rejects the apps for no reason, and consumers will lose faith if the company continues to allow questionable content filter into the Store, and reject the ones that actually inspire Americans during troubling economic conditions.