Apple has rejected a second appeal regarding the ban of our upcoming game “Smash MAGA!” from the App Store. Apple has previously rejected our game because it had supposedly “inappropriately referenced the COVID-19 pandemic”. After resubmitting our game having verified that the game has absolutely zero references to COVID-19, they rejected our game for a second time using new reasoning claiming that there is “content that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable”.
Specifically, Apple claims our game contains “offensive references to targeted groups such as MAGA supporters”. Furthermore, Apple told us on the phone that they would never accept a game that features the January 6 Capitol Hill coup attempt, even in a satirical or artistic interpretation, because “leveraging a current event to attract users is not appropriate”.
Excerpt from Apple’s App Review Guidelines:
1.1.1 Defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or harm a targeted individual or group. Professional political satirists and humorists are generally exempt from this requirement.
We believe it is ridiculous and offensive that Apple falsely equates the right-wing MAGA extremists that stormed the capitol on January 6 to actual historically and currently oppressed groups. To parrot right-wing talking points to defend fascist extremists using language that was ostensibly meant to protect actual targeted groups based on religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or national/ethnic origin is an insult to these groups that actually experience discrimination, hate crimes and violence.
Please read our previous press release regarding the rejection of our game from the App Store.
Call Ticket: 2928969
Thank you for your time on the phone today.
As we discussed, your app is out of compliance with guideline 1.1, as it includes content or concepts that are not appropriate for the App Store.
While your app’s current content or concept is not appropriate for the App Store, we would welcome a new app from you in alignment with our App Store Review Guidelines that is not focused on or related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, your app includes offensive references to targeted groups such as MAGA supporters or other groups, and it references or includes content or features related to a sensitive, ongoing or recent event. Apps on the App Store should be useful and relevant, but leveraging a current event to attract users is not appropriate.
To resolve these issues, please remove all potentially objectionable content from your app and please remove all potentially offensive content regarding any targeted groups.
Please feel free to reach me at +1-669-276-9401 on Monday – Friday between 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time if you would like additional clarification.
App Store Review
Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content
We found that your app includes content that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable.
To resolve this issue, please remove all potentially objectionable content from your app and submit your revised binary for review.
For app design information, check out the following videos: “Essential Design Principles” and “Designing Intuitive User Experiences,” available on the Apple Developer website.
You may also want to review the iOS Human Interface Guidelines for more information on how to create a great user experience in your app.