In the wake of last week's mass killing of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, governments and companies around the United States have been taking down the Confederate flag, a symbol flaunted by alleged killer Dylann Roof on a website explaining his motivations.
Following in the footsteps on major retailers like Walmart, eBay, and Amazon, now Apple seems to be taking steps to ban the Confederate battle flag by removing historical Civil War games from the App Store.
Ultimate General: Gettysburg and several Civil War games by Hunted Cow are gone, Touch Arcade reported. Apple has not yet confirmed its reason to pull the games, but one publisher made clear the reason as they understood it.
One developer told Touch Arcade that Apple said their game was removed "because it includes images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways."
The developers of Ultimate General, Game Labs, told Touch Arcade that they simply aim to make their game historically accurate, so much so that "American teachers ... use our game in history curriculum," but they "understand that this is a sensitive issue."
Critics of the move are pointing out that there is a difference between South Carolina flying the flag above the state capitol and using it in an accurate historical recreation of the Civil War. A developer from HexWar games, who had titles removed from the App Store, said they were "in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time."
"[C]ensoring historical games (if that is indeed the reason why the game's have been pulled) is always very tricky because those games don't glorify or promote a cause but, rather, represent historical events using the symbols and insignia of the period," Touch Arcade's Tasos Lazarides wrote. "However, I can also see the political and social pressure mounting at the moment, which makes pulling the games the 'safest' action for Apple."
Apple has yet to make a public statement on the issue.