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Apple's Rejection of Nudity Questioned


Sunday’s New York Times reports that Apple is rejecting applications for its popular iPhone that feature nudity. A case in point is Sebastian Kempa, a German freelance photographer, who began a project titled “Naked People” on his website,, to show that clothes “are our second layer of skin.” On the website, people are dressed in different styles of clothing, but when a visitor to the site runs the mouse over the image, the clothes disappear and the person is revealed, naked, without their protective armor of clothing.

On his website, Kempa states that clothes “disguise, reveal, mirror our innermost being or help to hide it,” using the example of a person wearing a business suit. People probably assume this person holds some type of professional position and is judged to be trustworthy because of his or her attire. But are our assumptions about people based on their clothing correct? Kempa’s intention is to make people question why or why not they believe this is so. Nudists are ahead of the curve on this issue, recognizing that people cannot make those assumptions and value other people for who they are rather than what they wear.

Kempa also developed an app based on the website that he submitted to Apple. Aware that Apple found nudity unacceptable, Kempa tweaked the content. By moving one’s finger or tilting the phone, the clothes disappeared to show his subjects wearing underwear or bathing suits instead of their birthday suits, and he called the application “Not Quite Naked People.” Apple still found the content objectionable and rejected the app by responding, “Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple’s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”

According to the New York Times, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment but an earlier Times article quoted an Apple executive saying there had been a crackdown on nudity after complaints from women who found certain applications “degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see.”

Apple’s explanation worries some who feel that a single company in one part of the world should not decide standards and values for everyone else. Many countries are much more accepting of nudity than much of the United States, and consider it a non-issue.

Apple also recently blocked the iPhone application of German newsmagazine Stern for three weeks because it included a fashion photo of a nude model. Many publishers worldwide hope their apps for the iPhone and the iPad, to be released on April 3, will prove to be lucrative and help offset dwindling print revenue. Some publishers whose apps have been denied by Apple fear that this trend may border on censorship.

The trend of new technology to ban all types of nudity was highlighted last year by Facebook’s removal of photos showing mothers breastfeeding their babies, incurring the wrath of mothers and non-mothers alike. A Facebook page named “If breastfeeding offends you put a blanket over your head” now exists with over 220,000 fans and sells T-shirts, onesies and bumper stickers with the slogan.

What do you think? Does Apple’s decision border on censorship or is it just giving the public what it demands?

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3 Responses to Apple's Rejection of Nudity Questioned

  1. NUDIARIST says:

    All nudists and naturists should contribute to Sebastian Kempa’s new “Your Version” project of naked people here

    The only way to beat this sort of censorship is to openly defy it.

  2. WesternMANudist says:

    This is another example of the obsession with suppressing nudity that is driving America back to the Victorian era. What next? Shall we call table legs “limbs” and return to 19th-century swimwear?

    Nudiarist’s suggestion to support Kempa’s “Your Version” project is excellent. I did so two weeks ago.

  3. M.Hassett says:

    I suggest we boucot APPLE until they see the error of their censorship. My wife wanted a new IPHONE but I dropped ATT and got her a DROID from Verizon. You can only affect their bottom line!

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