Apple bans digital comic due to gay sex images [Update]

Here’s a story that will divide opinion! Apple has banned the latest instalment of the acclaimed SAGA series comics from sale, via any iOS apps, due to the issues inclusion of two gay sex images.


The visual style of the SAGA series

One of SAGA’s writers, Brian K Vaughan, commented on the ban:

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.

Apple have always made it clear that sexual graphic imagery of any kind is strictly monitored and this, no matter the size of the images, is no different. Vaughan went on to say:

… 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 s**t.

And this isn’t the first time Apple has cracked down on sexual themed apps and content. In 2010, Apple began a crackdown of content that could be deemed sexual, to the point of degrading or objectionable.

On a more positive note, SAGA #12 will be available in stores and online through sites like Image Comics or Comixology. Although there is a chance that Apple will allow #12 to be sold through the iBookstore as adult related material can sometime show up there and be sold through iOS apps.

So, do any of you read SAGA and aren’t at all phased by the imagery included, or do you think that Apple is right to stop imagery of this kind being available to it’s customers?

[UPDATE] It has come to our attention that Comixology CEO, David Steinberger, has issued a brief statement via the Comixology Blog in which he details that SAGA #12 will soon be available through their "App Store app soon." He also stated that "Apple did not reject Saga #12." Thanks to forum member Stetson for passing this information on to us.

Source: Image Comics Tumblr | Image courtesy of Comics Alliance

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32 Comments

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I used the 'report a problem' link to submit this directly to them. I'm shocked (shocked I say!) to find that the article still hasn't been updated...

The article doesn't really I've many details, but it's worth mentioning that the images a pretty graphic. It's not just two shirtless guys kissing. I really doubt that Microsoft would want it in their store, either (gay, straight, or dog-on-cat).

On a related note, I'm pretty sure that this is the first time Neowin has ever posted an article with the tag 'gay sex.'

THolman said,

On a related note, I'm pretty sure that this is the first time Neowin has ever posted an article with the tag 'gay sex.'

Click and find out!

Grzegorz Bonczyk said,
That's why pornography will never be banned from the internet. No one would ever dare to ban gay porn.

And rightly so....

Follow the rules, or get your products removed. Or pick a different platform. The rules are laid out in plain English, and several other languages.

that may be so but it seems the rules were not applied to non gay sexual content and other objectionable material within recent saga comic episodes....so what does that say about apple well it sounds alot like they're OK with child abuse and head shots aswell as straight sex but oh no you can't be havin gay sex that's just not on no no no no not on at all

It says nothing about Apple and a lot about its users. The users complained, Apple reacted. If you have a problem with the images of child abuse. Report them so Apple can ban them. Problem solved.

People have a misguided sense of how moderation works. I see it all the time on the Neowin forums for instance, with people claiming the mods are "biased" because they allowed one post and not the other. Reality being that someone likely reported one post, while another went unreported.

Mods cannot find and solve everything pro-actively. That's why report systems exist.

Brony said,
Silly question, is it ok to say the world "gay" ?.

The world can't be gay because then their would be no reproduction. But if you mean the world is gay as a way to be insulting, sure you can say that too. It's not very nice.

DarkNet said,

The world can't be gay because then their would be no reproduction. But if you mean the world is gay as a way to be insulting, sure you can say that too. It's not very nice.

I really wouldn't like to be around when the world decides it's time to reproduce. I wish nothing but luck to the Earth's quest for love, but I doubt planetary intercourse will be a pleasant experience for the inhabitants.

I have to admit Neowin, this is beneath you. I joined this site, because it was a welcome change from the click-bait that infects the interwebs. But lately... well, I can't see myself staying here if that's the sort of site you want to become.

This headline is click-bait.

ZipZapRap said,
I have to admit Neowin, this is beneath you. I joined this site, because it was a welcome change from the click-bait that infects the interwebs. But lately... well, I can't see myself staying here if that's the sort of site you want to become.

This headline is click-bait.

I wholeheartedly agree. This is low.

There is no reason to even mention that the images were gay, They were sexually explicit images, that's why they were removed. Gay has nothing to do with it. Just something to hype up the story or no one would have known the comic was removed.

Summary is missing out an important point: SAGA has had sexual imagery in previous editions, just of a heterosexual nature. They weren't "postage stamp" sized either. Yet this was passed without a murmur. This is the first edition with homosexual content and now suddenly it isn't OK to sell.

It also has had imagery of child abuse and gun violence. Yet this was also fine.

Edited by mrbester, Apr 10 2013, 11:15am :

And it takes what for apple to react to this? People complaining. They have a policy and police it as best possible - but they need people to alert them to the issue. If the general populace seem to report heterosexual imagery less than homosexual, how is that apple's fault?

I think playing the "gay" card here is wrong. Apple doesn't allow sexual natured imagery at all! I don't agree, but it's not my ecosystem.

And it takes what for apple to react to this? People complaining. They have a policy and police it as best possible - but they need people to alert them to the issue. If the general populace seem to report heterosexual imagery less than homosexual, how is that apple's fault?

I know - it was rhetorical But no hypocrisy at all on Apple's part, they are only reacting to the complaints they receive.

virtorio said,
Apple have pretty well known restrictions against all sexual content in the App store, not just "gay sex images".

Exactly. I think the title was meant to be provocative... The title does not need to reference "gay" in any way. The comic was not allowed because of sexual images... Gay, not gay, it wouldn't matter.