Apple boots game apps that have the Confederate flag – a step too far?

Add Apple to the list of retailers who have purged their inventory of products that include the image of the Confederate flag, reports TouchArcade.

Apple pulled “Ultimate General: Gettysburg” and “Hunted Cow, Civil War,” according to the site, which then noted later that everything related to the Confederate flag had been removed from the App Store.

An Apple spokesperson responded to TechCrunch:

We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines. We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.

According to MacRumors, the list includes nine Civil War-related games, including “1861 A Civil War Rebellion” and “Civil War: Hidden Mysteries.” Earlier this week, MacRumor had spotted a range of products that used the flag. One named “Southern Pride Themes” offers the Confederate flag as wallpaper.

Apple still sells educational and generic Civil War apps, MacRumors noted.

As Heather Somerville wrote earlier this week, Amazon and eBay joined Walmart and other retailers to rid their inventory of Confederate flags and paraphernalia in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting that resulted in the death of nine African-Americans.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has spoken out about the Confederate flag imagery:

But is Apple’s decision a step too far by rejecting the image even as a historical reference in some games?

That’s what TouchArcade’s Tasos Lazarides wondered as well:

Censoring historical games (if that is indeed the reason why the game’s have been pulled) is always very tricky because those games don’t glorify or promote a cause but, rather, represent historical events using the symbols and insignia of the period.

Apple told a game maker that his Civil War-themed titles were removed because they include “images of the Confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways,” according to the Huffington Post.

Updated to include Apple’s comment.

Above: One of the games removed from Apple’s App Store. (Screenshot from AppShopper) 


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  • DonDraper

    It is clearly a step too far. Should we ban all references to the Germans in WW2 games too? We could also ban the flags of all human rights violators from the encylopedia next. Apple’s eye is not on the ball anymore. This kind of nonsense isn’t going to help the $800 iPhone compete with the $200 Android equivalents from Asia that some people actually like better. Tim Cook should either get his head back in the game or go start an endowment and be a full time activist like some others have done.


    Ok, I’m an Apple fan & also glad to see the current backlash against the stars & bars. But this seems like a step too far. The point is not to deny our past, but rather to not glorify its discredited values like human bondage. In these games, if the flag is used in a more-or-less historical context to denote Confederate armies, that should be ok. If the flag is somehow glorified as an ongoing, cherished symbol then perhaps that ought to be toned down.

    The Japanese try to erase history by not teaching school children of their Empirical past, their brutal oppression in China, Philippines & Korea. Hopefully, America will remember its past in order to learn from it.

  • Diogenes

    This is symbolism over content. Everyone is against racism, but censoring historical content for no progressive result is just silly. What if Apple takes it one step further? One major organization was behind slavery in the Civil War. The same organization put the “stars and bars” outside the SC courthouse in the 1960s as a protest against integration. The same organization ran Jim Crow in the south. And that organization is still growing strong today. Should Tim Cook, then, in keeping with his policy, remove any reference in Apple products to …. the Democrat Party?

  • fstein

    Quoting from MacRumors, ” Most educational or generic Civil War apps remain available on the App Store.”

  • Peyton_Wheeler
  • Mos Def

    Sanitizing a cultural reference from existence is exactly what ISIS is doing in the Middle East. Have we fallen so far as to repeat what they are doing?

  • Captain America

    Democrats sign petition to repeal 1st Amendment:

    • ellafino

      You do realize these videos are staged.

      • sociopathic

        You mean the people actually SIGNING the petition?

        I doubt it.

        Simply look at CA, the repeal of the 2A is already underway.

  • Don Smith

    I don’t think Apple is too concerned with people who love the confederate flag…probably 90+% of them own a cheap android device anyway
    Seems a little ridiculous of a move, but I could care less