More than 150,000 people signed a petition demanding that Apple remove a so-called "gay cure" app from its App Store, and as of Tuesday night, it was gone.
While Apple hasn't made an official statement on the app's removal, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the Florida-based group for which the app is named, confirmed the removal of his group's app via Twitter:
It’s official, the @ExodusInl App is no longer in the @AppStore. Incredibly disappointing. Watch out, it could happen to you. #freedom
Contrary to findings by such medical organizations as the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Exodus International's ministry describes homosexuality as "a multicausal, developmental issue and that any individual can experience freedom through the support of caring individuals and the healing power of Jesus Christ."
The group's eponymous app purported "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus," and bore a "4+" rating from Apple (meaning it contained to no objectionable content).
Human rights activists begged to differ.
"Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a 'sin that will make your heart sick' and a 'counterfeit,' " reads the petition posted on Change.org, an activist support organization.
According to Dr. Gary Remafedi, director of the Youth and AIDS Projects, the Exodus app "erroneously cites my research in support of claims that homosexuality can be changed." In a letter to Apple requesting the app's removal, Dr. Remafendi wrote, "Associating my work with that of the ex-gay ministry and other unfounded treatments is professionally injurious and grievous."
"I am simply pointing out a problem. I'm sure they will do the right thing," Dr. Remafedi told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and stated that in the past he's had "100 percent" success dealing with such misrepresentations.
As a non-government affiliated company, Apple is not bound by the First Amendment and can accept or remove content as it deems fit. Apple has a reputation for its capricious App Store content acceptance and rejection, and given recent history, it remains confounding that Apple allowed "Exodus International."
A similar program, the "Manhattan Declaration" app, by a group that condemns same-sex unions, was yanked from the App Store last year after receiving petitions initiated by Change.org saying that app was offensive.
Late last year, Apple pulled the pro-heterosexual marriage app from the App Store for the iPhone, with the Manhattan Declaration group calling Jobs "Big Brother," and releasing a video that portrays Apple's CEO as sinister as Kim Jong-il.
More Apple App Store controversy:
- Apple criticized for allowing iPhone 'gay cure' app
- Steve Jobs targeted in anti-gay iPhone app war
- Apple pulls anti-gay app from App Store
- WikiLeaks App yanked from iTunes Store