ComiXology is breaking the silence around the company’s decision to not offer the latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga on the comiXology iOS app.
Here’s a response from comiXology’s CEO and co-founder:
To our customers –
In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of chatter about Apple banning Saga #12 from our Comics App on the Apple App Store due to depictions of gay sex. This is simply not true, and we’d like to clarify.
As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps. Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.
We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.
Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.
After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.
We apologize to Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.
All the best,
CEO and co-founder
This response still raises some questions:
- As stated in my previous post: this is a book where someone explodes and violence is rampant. Why is this the one instance that made comiXology worry about Apple’s terms of service for the app store? Isn’t that a double standard?
- “We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation.” This book is overrun with sex scenes. If not for the sexual orientation of the content, what nixed this particular issue? There’s an entire issue of Saga where a guy visits a space brothel, and that was seen as contentious or breaching Apple’s terms. Why now? What else but the nature of act itself could have tailored this decision.
This move garnered both Apple and comiXology a lot of negative publicity – so it is does seem a little suspect that comiXology’s “interpretation” of Apple’s policies was “mistaken.”
But if that was indeed the case – it does seem to suggest that Apple needs to further clarify its specific expectations for content, especially when dealing a company as large as comiXology.
Writer Brian K Vaughan had this to say:
I wanted to apologize to everyone for this entire Saga #12 kerfuffle. Yesterday, I was mistakenly led to believe that this issue was solely with Apple, but it’s now clear that it was only ever Comixology too conservatively interpreting Apple’s rules. I’m truly sorry.
I never thought either company was being homophobic, only weirdly inconsistent about what kind of adult material was permissible. I’m grateful that the situation was cleared up so quickly, and I’m delighted I can go back to reading smutty comics on my Retina Display iPad.