Apple should explain why it approved 'gay cure' app in first place (but don't hold your breath)

Offensive app finally removed from App Store, only after online petition campaign

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I'm reasonably certain Steve Jobs didn't personally approve the "gay cure" app that was available for download from Apple's App Store until this week.

(Also see: Controversial 'gay cure' app pulled from App Store)

However, last month someone at Apple did, and whoever that was obviously had some kind of reasoning behind their decision. But it would be the reasoning of either 1) a blatant homophobe 2) an imbecile 3) or both. I don't see any other options here.

Apple pulled the "gay cure" app created by anti-gay "ministry" Exodus International only after a strong public outcry and a petition from Two Wins Out -- a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting gay-bashing by religious zealots -- that has garnered more than 150,000 signatures in just a couple of days. (The petition can be signed at Change.org.)

Besides the obvious fact that the Exodus app was incredibly offensive -- a fact acknowledged by an Apple spokesman who told CNET "it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people" -- it doesn't even make sense on a functional level.

I mean, how was the "gay cure" app supposed to work, exactly? Did Exodus expect gay people who own iPhones or iPads to say to themselves, "I'm really struggling with my gayness, but I just don't know where to turn for help to become not gay. Hey, look! The App Store has a 'gay cure' app! That's my ticket out! Praise the Lord! Heterosexuality, here I come!"

Or maybe a concerned friend or family member was supposed to surreptitiously download the app onto the gay person's Apple device in hopes that they would stumble upon the "cure" while searching for Angry Birds. No doubt that would be a lot easier than an intervention.

Two Wins Out and Change.org have praised Apple for removing the app. I don't think they should have. That's like praising someone because they stopped hitting you.

Pulling the app without making some kind of statement beyond "it violates our developer guidelines" not only is a sterile dismissal of the issue, it's cowardly. Apple wants this to be all forgotten by Thursday, and sadly, as far as the vast majority of the public goes, it probably will be.

Maybe some developer should be working on an App Store Rational Adult Decision-Making App. Sounds like Apple could use one.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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