Apple has reacted to the backlash over the presence of the so-called “gay cure” app in the iTunes App Store. As of yesterday evening, the controversial mobile application is no longer available to download — yanked off the virtual shelves by Apple. It’s safe to say that public perception was a key factor in the decision
The Florida-based Christian group, Exodus International, which sponsored the app calls itself “the world’s largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality.” The app was reportedly an effort to reach out to LGBT young adults so that they might be “freed from homosexuality.” The group promotes the app as having received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning it contained “no objectionable material.”
The app in question, eponymously named Exodus International, appeared in the App Store in mid-February, prompting a growing tide of criticism. Over 150,000 people signed an online petition at Change.org asking Apple to pull the app.
“Apple made a wise and responsible decision to dump an offensive app that demonized gay and lesbian people,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, the organization that sponsored the position. “The real winners today are LGBT youth who are safer and less at risk for receiving Exodus’ malice and misinformation.”
Senior leaders of Exodus International have claimed that the app’s intentions have been misrepresented.
“It’s being touted as a gay cure app, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Jeff Buchanan, senior director of church equipping and student ministries for Exodus International, told Fox News. “We present a redemptive, Biblical world view on sexuality … it’s a message of love and acceptance of those that are struggling with same-sex attraction.”
In the same Fox News report Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr is quoted saying, “We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”
Exodus International’s president Alan Chambers responded to the app’s removal in a tweet: “It’s official, the @ExodusInl App is no longer in the @AppStore. Incredibly disappointing. Watch out, it could happen to you.”