The Apple App Store has rejected a mobile game based on Pepe the Frog after the corporate curators deemed the character to be “objectionable content.” The green-skinned mascot of the deplorable Trump-supporting right became the subject of political controversy during the 2016 presidential election.
Apple dings apps and mobile games that it deems too controversial for its audience. The company previously declined to accept social media app Gab, and banned temporarily banned a historical strategy game called Ultimate General: Gettysburg over its inclusion of Confederate army flags. It also rejected a game that made fun of Hillary Clinton.
According to Adland, the makers of Pepe Scream received a rejection notice for their game after submitting it to the store. It read:
We are writing to let you know the result of your appeal for your app, Pepe Scream.
The App Review Board evaluated your app and determined that the original rejection feedback is valid. Your app does not comply with:
Your app contains images and references of Pepe the Frog, which are considered objectionable content. It would be appropriate to remove the references and revise the images in your app.
The game, which is available on Android through Google Play, is a simple clone of Flappy Bird, which was popular on the platform in 2014 for its simplicity and difficulty. Replacing the aforementioned flappy bird with Pepe the Frog, the simple game includes 4chan-inspired memes like “REEEE” and “>tfw no gf.” It’s clearly intended as a satire—and there is nothing particularly objectionable about it unless you believe Pepe the Frog to be a symbol of white supremacy, which it is not.
Apple’s arbitrary rules for submissions and lack of transparency allow the company to reject and accept submissions with little rhyme or reason, providing vague explanations to rejected applicants. It’s anyone’s guess why Apple found Pepe the Frog “objectionable,” but the mainstream media’s slanted coverage of the amphibian caricature is undoubtedly the main reason for its rejection.