ComiXology Chief: “Apple Didn’t Ban Saga #12.” Comic Available on iOS

saga12review-1After a day of controversy about Saga #12 being banned in the Apple iOS environment, word comes from comiXology CEO David Steinberger that the issue is now available and that Apple did not in fact ban the comic, but that comiXology did not make the issue available due to a misunderstanding of Apple’s policies.

Steinberger writes:

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 and Image Comics for any confusion this may have caused.

All the best,

David Steinberger
CEO and co-founder

In a follow up statement, Brian K. Vaughan writes:

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.

The content of the issue did raise concerns among some retailers about whether it created a vulnerability for prosecution, a likelihood that is highly unlikely, as we explained in a post published earlier today.  Although the source of confusion about the Saga incident has now been cleared up, it did call attention to Apple’s recent censorship of titles from Izneo, a French publisher & distributor.

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Charles Brownstein is the Executive Director of CBLDF.