Congress Artist MAD Over App Rejection

Apple says art ridicules public figures

We've got iPhone apps that mimic snipers, fishing and farts, but mimicking a member of Congress is apparently off-limits.

That's what MAD Magazine artist Tom Richmond found out, but not until he had already drawn 540 caricatures of senators and representatives on Capitol Hill for an iPhone app that would have allowed users to look up info about the pols and how to contact them. Oh, the caricature heads also turned into bobbleheads when the user shook his or her phone. Fun stuff!

The images are well done and have a great reality and likeness to them, but apparently the people at Apple didn't see it that way. They rejected the Bobble Rep app, and gave the following reason in an apparent letter sent back to the app developer (which Richmond posted on his blog):

We’ve reviewed Bobble Rep – 111th Congress Edition and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.14 from the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which states:

“Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”

So after Richmond found out that the 540 incredible caricatures he created might never see the light of day on an informational app he created them for, he got MAD and ranted on his blog.

Hard to believe that anybody could be this blind. Maybe they just have a monkey doing the approval of their apps, and he throws a dart at a dartboard with “approved” and “rejected” targets on it and whatever it hits is the fate of that app. That would explain how they could approve an app with a cartoon baby picture and when you shake the phone hard enough the baby dies. Yes, that one got through only to be yanked after some outraged people complained, but no way are a bunch of flame-throwing caricatures going to get through!!!

The really sad part is that here is an app that might get people interested in who represents them in Washington, especially kids and young adults, and connects people to their senators and representatives via fun and PARTISAN FREE way. Yet Apple has decided it’s not appropriate. There needs to be more of that in this world of right versus left, especially as that applies to young kids who are being raised to consider politics the public equivalent of professional wrestling.

Richmond's story has been picked up by numerous media sources online, and the attention crashed his Web site several times due to increased traffic.

The latest update on the blog says Apple hasn't issued any further statements to the developers, who are considering using the app on other devices and possibly creating a stand-alone Web site to house the info.

In the meantime, caricatures of Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and their fellow pols are standing by, waiting to provide info and entertainment to the masses.

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