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.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • WheelsOfConfusion
    "Apple rejects app for dunderheaded reason, film at 11."
  • cangelini
    It's awesome, it's inspiring, and entirely all-American.

    ...and reject the ones that actually inspire Americans during troubling economic conditions.

    Uh, the author's views are his own on this one, and don't represent the sentiments of all Tom's staff :-P
  • crisisavatar
    Oh wow, seriously what is wrong with them.
  • crisisavatar
    soldier37Instead of HOPE it should read, TAXED or SUXTOBEU or KENYAN or NOHOPE or LEFTY. LOL Nice going apple good choice! Hurry up 2012 and get this guy out of office get us back on the right track!You got that right, idiot and friends.
  • What hope is there, when he just raised the totalamerican debt with over 3 trillion dollars (and still rising) in one day?

    That's a common debt of $250.000 per person living in the USA! When are we going to pay that back?
    Europe is already paying back! They have raised the taxes to 21,5% or higher; but lowering taxes will only work to get re-elected the first 4 years, after which they will need a gigantic boost!

    Barak may be a great guy in person, I have nothing against him in person, and I'm sure he honestly tries to come up with solutions, but so far many of the decisions he made makes one question; who has higher moral, the president of a nation, or some of it's people?

    I know for sure something must be wrong, when someone all of a sudden gets the idea to 'borrow' 3 trillion dollars (which took USA about 30 years to get into the first 3 trillion dollars of debt), and gives it to motor vehicle industries (which is non constitutional), to save them, instead all guys at the top of the chain all of a sudden get $+240.000 bonuses,and GM declares bankrupt only 3 months later?
    Is that just a gigantic waste of money or what?

    He did well in getting the troops out of Iraq. Let the Irakees kill eachother. If they hate America so badly, then let them be killed by their own 'taliban' brothers instead!
    That terrorist organisation that have the urge to bring the world to the worst possible condition ever, under their terrorist and murderous rule; that buys weapons from USA to only later try to use them against USA...

    Anyways, Obama is a symbol for the times,has done some great things, but not knowing, he's also destroying the economy very badly, and at a rapid rate!

  • WheelsOfConfusion
    ProDigit80Let the Irakees kill eachother. If they hate America so badly, then let them be killed by their own 'taliban' brothers instead!Uh, the author's views are his own on this one, and don't represent the sentiments of all Tom's readers :-P
  • Kami3k
    ProDigit80, you forfeit any rights to criticize anyone when you spell Iraqi as Irakee and think the Taliban are even part of that. You must be related to that Ms. South Carolina chick.
  • SamanuelMC
    Politics aside this is just more fuel for the open source android fire. Clearly Apple is not capable of making good decisions, whether it be about shaking babies or a subliminal political message.
  • jivdis1x
    The is no art in making political propaganda poster.
  • Go Apple! Obama's face is offensive to me. He said that he wouldn't raise taxes on 95% of Americans but now he's considering it. If that's not lying I don't know what is.