Who would’ve thought emojis could prove so controversial?
Following on from the yellow skin color accusations and Russian LGBT emojis attempted banning, the nonprofit group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) has launched a new hashtag entitled #DisarmTheiPhone — calling for Apple to “remove the gun emoji [from iOS] and take a stand for stricter gun accessibility in America.”
Check out a video for the campaign below:
NYAGV executive director Leah Barrett explains, “The iPhone is ubiquitous. [Guns are] on the iPhone as an option. We thought this was a way to bring attention to the issue [of gun violence].”
Apple didn’t create the gun emoji itself, although it has the choice of whether or not to add it to the list of possible emojis included on iOS. Microsoft has previously avoided the controversy by opting to include a toy gun depiction instead of a “real” one.
Apple’s played it on the conservative side before when it comes to banning what it considers to be offensive, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll succumb to Twitter pressure here. My guess would be that — like the Taylor Swift open letter about Apple’s payment of royalties during the three-month Apple Music free trial — it’ll depend on how much this blows up on social media.
I wonder if Sony’s starting to second-guess that seemingly safe emoji movie it recently shelled out for?