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Apple reverses rejection of political caricature app

updated 01:45 pm EDT, Fri April 16, 2010

Cartoons originally deemed potentially offensive

Apple has reversed its rejection of an iPhone app, NewsToons, that features caricatures of political figures and various other editorial cartoons, according to the Wall Street Journal. The title was originally denied entry to the App Store because Apple's review team found it to be in violation of the iPhone SDK, which prohibits any content that "ridicules public figures."

After the rejection was made public on Thursday in a blog post by Laura McGann of Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab, Apple quickly back-pedaled from its original stance and sent a e-mail to the app developer. NewsToons was created by Mark Fiore, the first online-only journalist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

The app offers cartoons similar to Fiore's Flash animations that appear on sites such as SFGate. Apple's rejection letter cited several shots deemed "objectionable," including shots of the White House party crashers and another related to Obama and torture. The company also took issue with the title of several cartoons such as "Learn to Speak Tea Bag."

"I'm a sucker for Apple, and I do like what they've done," Fiore said. "I've always felt like they would be the type to support political cartooning."

Apple has been criticized by developers who claim the company is too subjective with its interpretation of the iPhone SDK, rejecting certain apps while approving others that appear to offer the same set of features. Developers have also blasted the company for leaving the rules flexible for apps created by larger companies. The recent purge of "sexual" apps was said to affect over 5,000 titles, except for content offered by publishers such as Playboy.

"I feel kind of guilty," Fiore admitted. "I'm getting preferential treatment because I got the Pulitzer."

By Electronista Staff


  1. Woode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007



    I get the feeling that there are approval drones that just stick to the "letter of the law", without actually thinking about the particular app. Maybe they're not allowed to. I also guess that all this is part of figuring out how to do this -- no one's done anything like the App Store at this scale before. I understand keeping some content out, but stuff in an everyday newspaper? Nah. If it were "Paris Hilton is a s**** App", then yeah, makes sense to keep that out (even if you think it's true). Then again, there is a "Star Magazine" app.

    I don't think I'd want to be an app reviewer. *sigh*

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