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Apple Removing Games Featuring Confederate Flag Regardless Of Context
On June 17, a gunman walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and murdered nine individuals. A man by the name of Dylann Roof admitted to perpetrating the act as an attempt to start a race war.
In the days since the attack, politicians have rallied against the Confederate flag flying over public property, including state capitols. Walmart and Amazon have removed from sale flags and other goods bearing the image.
Today, Apple made a move to do the same, sweeping away a number of apps that use the image of the Confederate flag. This includes games based during the American Civil War that use the flag in an historical context.
“Apple has removed our game from AppStore because of usage of the Confederate Flag,” writes Game-Labs developer Nick Thomadis. “Ultimate General: Gettysburg could be accepted back if the flag is removed from the game's content. We accept Apple's decision and understand that this is a sensitive issue for the American Nation. We wanted our game to be the most accurate, historical, playable reference of the Battle of Gettysburg. All historical commanders, unit composition and weaponry, key geographical locations to the smallest streams or farms are recreated in our game's battlefield.”
Ultimate General: Gettysburg is just one of many apps that has reportedly been removed. Civil War titles by developer Hunted Cow have also met the same fate. HexWar Games, the developer behind Civil War 1862, Civil War 1863, Civil War 1864, shares the same story with TouchArcade.
At the same time, Apple has not touched other forms of media depicting the Confederate flag. Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary series is still available for purchase, as are audiobooks featuring stories of soldiers fighting for the Confederacy (and bearing the image of the flag as their key art).
“Spielberg’s Schindler's List did not try to amend his movie to look more comfortable,” Thomadis writes. “The historical Gettysburg movie (1993) is still on iTunes. We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money.”
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on this new policy and how it is being applied. We’ll update should we receive a response.
Apple’s approach here is heavy-handed and unwise. Not only does it convey a contempt for the role of games in our cultural landscape, but it does more to bury history than place it in crucial context. There is a significant difference between the Confederate flag flying over state capitols today and the image of one being used in its proper historical context.