Apple Yanks Games With Confederate Flags From App Store

Apple Yanks Games With Confederate Flags From App Store

Pop quiz: You’re in charge of a giant digital game store, and suddenly there’s a controversy revolving around how and when people display the US Confederate flag. Do you a) do nothing; b) assess all of your games on a case-by-case basis; or c) remove games that show the flag in any way?

If you said c), you probably work for Apple, the mega-corporation behind all things iOS. Apple is notoriously skittish when it comes to the App Store, often censoring and banning games that show naked people (in any context) or use gun imagery in their marketing materials. So it’s not a surprise to see the company reacting to recent controversies — specifically, questions over the Confederate flag’s symbolism in the wake of a mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina last week — by burning everything to the ground.

Today, Apple decided to start yanking games that use the Confederate flag in any way (via TouchArcade). For example, you can now no longer buy the strategy iOS games Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1863, Civil War: 1864, and Civil War: Gettysburg, which, as you might guess, use the Confederate flag because they’re video games about the Civil War.

Andrew Mulholland, director of these Civil War games, told me this morning that Apple pulled them today without any warning.

“It seems disappointing that they would remove it as they weren’t being used in an offensive way, being that they were historical war games and hence it was the flag used at the time,” Mulholland said in an email. “At the moment we’re reworking the games to replace the flags that are deemed offensive. We’re going to use the Confederate flag from 1861 and 1862 as the one that’s considered offensive wasn’t introduced until late 1862.”

The note Apple sent, according to Mulholland: “We are writing to notify you that your app has been removed from the App Store because it includes images of the Confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.”

I imagine that any rational person would see the difference between, say, a family hanging the flag outside their house as a sign of pride and a video game using the flag in the context of the Civil War. But over the years, the App Store’s curators have proven themselves to be anything but rational, censoring on a whim while making very little effort to thwart the iOS clone epidemic that has driven many developers away from Apple entirely.

Meanwhile, you can still buy The Dukes of Hazzard:


    • Will they be removing Lynyrd Skynyrd too? They may take my racism but they can never take my Free Bird.

        • Bet you the confederates win this time…coulda won last time but would have needed to free the slaves, give them a dollar, and send them to live their lives of freedom in the north. This time the confederates can give the poor money to buy land in the north. Northern economy collapses due to influx of cheap labour.

      • Or any Pantera videos where Dimebag plays his Dixie Rebel confederate finish guitar? He does play it very aggressively. Aggression + Confederate flag = Racism, yeah? That’s the way it seems to work?

  • The dukes may be safe in the Apple store, but the flag has been erased from General Lee merch!

    This is like when they used to edit cigarettes out of films, but even more pointless.

  • I guess the confederate flag is now in the same boat as the NAZI flag, personally I don’t think it deserves such treatment. I guess these are the times we live in…

  • “We are writing to notify you that your app has been removed from the App Store because it includes images of the Confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.”Is it mean-spirited because it paints them as targets to be shot by the opposing side?
    The whole thing is kind of ridiculous really. How long until we start rewriting history to edit out the bad parts? Oh…

    • If the MPAA has their way… got the Australian government AND opposition on speed-dial, waiting to lick their boots.

  • oh ffs

    How the hell do I get off this rock? The levels of stupid society has been displaying lately is completely beyond belief.

  • While I think the Confederate flag in a modern context is inflammatory and really is anachronistic, removing historically based games because of this is just plain stupid. It’s all about the CONTEXT people!

  • This kind of article needs a primer of sorts, most Aussies only associate the confederate flag with the Dukes of Hazzard and have no idea of it’s real significance and it’s use since the civil war.

    • Yeah, I’ve found a fair degree of ignorance here in NZ too. It seems people simply don’t get the history of the flag, it’s use as a symbol of the intertwined issues of states’ rights and the right to continue the institution of slavery, and it’s use by Southern states during their resistance against Federally mandated desegregation. To Blacks it really is offensive, maybe not take it off computer games which simulate the civil war offensive, but certainly something that should be used with care and consideration.

    • Appalling. What are they teaching kids in the satellite states of America? Everyone should know the history of the leaders of the Free World, the land of oppressive government surveillance the free and the home of the terrified shitless brave.

  • Pedant alert. That’s not one of the three versions of the national Confederate Flag, but rather a Confederate Battle Flag.

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