CENSORED "SAGA"

UPDATE: Comixology App, Not Apple, Responsible For “SAGA” Gay Sex Ban

apple-gay-saga-censoredApple has been accused of homophobia after banning the sale of a comic book that features “postage-sized images of gay sex” on iPhones and iPads.

The latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ acclaimed SAGA series features discrete images of gay sex — basically as discrete as images of gay sex can be. The New Statesman reports:

Issue twelve of the series opens with one of the characters, Prince Robot IV, injured on a battlefield. On his TV-screen head (look, it’s a thing in the series) images of gay porn are visible, as the damage takes its toll.

[You can see the gay, cartoon porn screen-face (if we had a dime for every time…) here and here (images NSFW and HILARIOUS)]

Vaughan announced Apple’s decision on fellow scribe Matt Fraction’s Tumblr:

As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, SAGA is a series for the proverbial “mature reader.” Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps. This is a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past, but there you go. Fiona and I could always edit the images in question, but everything we put into the book is there to advance our story, not (just) to shock or titillate, so we’re not changing shit.

Although the series has featured larger and far more explicit depictions of heterosexual sex, Apple has banned SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS app, including the popular Comixology as well as the iPhone and iPad, leading the New Statesman to call a spade a spade and deem the company homophobic:

It’s hard not to conclude that the rejection is homophobic. Even if it doesn’t come from explicitly homophobic guidelines on Apple’s part – and the company is notoriously opaque about how its App Store approval process works, so we can’t know that for certain – the outcome must be judged on its own merits. Gay sex has been treated as worse than straight sex, and unless Apple admits that its reviewers made a mistake (in either of the situations), that is a homophobic standard to impose.

As for SAGA #12, you can hop in a time machine and find a comic book store, or download it directly through sites like here or here  or on a non-Apple smartphone or tablet.

UPDATE: comiXology CEO and co-founder David Steinberger clarified that comiXology not Apple was responsible for the ban, and that SAGA #12 will be available through the App Store:

In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify.

As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps.  Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.

We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.

Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.

After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.

We apologize to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

Yay, gay sex for everyone!