Pulitzer Winning Cartoonist Banned From App Store Will Be Allowed to Resubmit

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In December, Mark Fiore submitted an app to Apple that would allow his fans to view his political animated cartoons.  Apple rejected his app, saying that his cartoons were “objectionable content.”

Well, on Monday, Fiore’s work was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning to go to an online only cartoon.  Apple is now asking him to resubmit his app.

The clause of the iPhone Developer Program Licence Agreement that Apple said he was in violation of was this one:

Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.

According to the Nieman Journalism Lab, Apple “attached screenshots of the offending material, including an image depicting the White House gate crashers interrupting an Obama speech. Two other grabs include images referencing torture, Balloon Boy, and various political issues.”

So… satire, in Apple’s view, can be considered defamation?  But once it’s Pulitzer sanctioned satire, well.

Frankly, it’s good that Apple is backing off on this as quickly as possible.  Not simply because lumping satire in with obscenity and pornography is frankly insulting to any person with a brain capable of critical thinking.  And, not simply because it’s never a good idea to mess with a satirist.  It’s good that they are backing off a stance of censorship.

Hopefully, next time, it won’t take an internationally recognized arts award to force them to reassess.

(via Discover Magazine.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.