Gay images in approved iOS apps: actually A-OK


Despite rumors to the contrary, issue #12 of Saga was not disqualified for publication on Apple devices for depictions of gay sex.  

The issue, which does display two very small images of such content, can now be purchased through either the comiXology app or Apple’s iBook store.

Saga, a comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, has always been marked as for “mature readers,” with warnings that it’s for ages 17 and up. Accordingly, it’s never shied away from portraying graphic sex or violence. 

In issue #12, a character who happens to have a television set for a head (it’s that kind of series) is in distress after being wounded. The screen is usually blank, but emotions like extreme stress cause it to display very random images. In this case, somehow his screen ends up displaying what appears to be gay pornography for two consecutive pages. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Vaughan wrote in a blog post that “because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s Saga #12 from being sold through any iOS apps.” Describing the decision as “a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider more graphic imagery in the past.” 

After the internet ran off with the story of censorship and discrimination, comiXology CEO and co-founder wrote an official blog post to explain the reason for the mix-up.

“We have an obligation to respect [Apple’s] 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,” he said.

“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. […] After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken.”


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