updated 03:45 pm EST, Mon November 9, 2009
Developer claims representations are in good taste
Apple has rejected an iPhone app for containing caricatures of politicians, frustrating yet another developer. The app, Bobble Rep, provides a database with the members of Congress, enabling users to navigate through list of politicians and view contact information. Representatives can be located using a zip code or GPS information.
Movie director Ray Griggs reportedly came up with the idea for the app, deciding to make the content more interesting by using caricatures instead of pictures. Griggs commissioned MAD Magazine artist Tom Richmond to produce the artwork, which included no less than 540 caricatures including non-voting members from US territories, according to a post on his blog.
Each of the caricature heads are combined with a body and produce a virtual "bobblehead" effect when the user shakes the phone or flicks the head with a finger swipe. "Of course that's just a novelty, and the real purpose of the app is the database that allows you to find out who your representatives in Washington are and how to contact them."
Like many other developers, Griggs began promoting his app while waiting for a response from Apple. Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee both booked him on their respective shows to speak about the app and an upcoming documentary.
To the surprise of both Griggs and Richmond, Apple responded to the submission with a letter of rejection, claiming the app contains "content that ridicules public figures." The review team referenced a section of the SDK terms that prohibit objectionable content that may be considered "obscene, pornographic, or defamatory."
"These caricatures aren't mean or very exaggerated. They are simple, fun cartoon likenesses of the politicians and the purpose of the app is a informational database," writes Richmond. The artist also argues that the app does not contain any editorial content that could be considered politically charged.
Apple previously was criticized for initially rejecting iSinglePayer, an iPhone app advocating health care reform in the US. The utility provided similar functionality, locating representatives using GPS, however the content included charts and campaign donation information regarding single-payer health care systems. Apple reversed its decision and approved the app after the story was covered by news outlets. Earlier in the year, the company rejected an iPhone app containing Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster featuring Barack Obama, despite the president's support of the artwork.
"This is the very reason that Apple as a company should be taken to task over it's ludicrous sanctimonious attitude," says Richmond. "Clearly [Bobble Rep] does not 'ridicule public figures' and is violating nothing, but Apple has decided the world must be protected from the insidious subversiveness this would force upon the public and the brutal, heinous ridicule that my cruel, cruel caricatures would subject these politicians to." [via MetaFilter]