Petition calls for Apple to remove ‘racist, sexist’ ringtones

“Racist and sexist apps and ringtones have remained for use and for sale [in Apple’s iTunes Store] — in some cases for years — despite clearly violating Apple’s policies prohibiting ‘defamatory, offensive (or) mean-spirited’ content against religious, cultural or ethnic groups,” Marissa Lang reports for the San Francisco Gate. “”

“Kate Antoniades, a freelance writer and editor in upstate New York, created a petition this summer to have the racist ringtones removed after she came across one on iTunes featuring a faux Asian accent encouraging users to answer their ‘linging’ phone,” Lang reports. “Antoniades is married to a man of Chinese descent. She has a mixed-race son. He’s 5.”

“Other ringtones featured ‘funny Asian’ messages with stereotypical East Asian accents, heavily accented Indian voices saying ‘Thank you, come again,’ and messages with a Spanish lilt shouting ‘Arriba!’ Apps containing libraries of ‘funny’ ringtones were left unchecked,” Lang reports. “Among those, many also crassly referenced women’s body parts and referred to the supposed caller as a ‘slut’ or other four-letter words.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s no accounting for poor taste, but at least the choice of these ringtones tells you something about the mindset of those who would employ them.

Lang reports, “The petition was published in July. As of Wednesday, Antoniades had nearly 2,300 signatures.”

MacDailyNews Take: Which is, in effect, zero. Meaningless in the grand scheme of things. 2,300 overly sensitive, prissy arbiters of self-righteousness with way too much time on their hands.

“On Monday, after a call from The Chronicle, Apple removed dozens of offending ringtones and at least one app from HaHaas Comedy that allowed users to access long lists of ‘funny Asian’ and ‘gangsta Indian’ ringtones,” Lang reports. “Some, like the ringtone titled ‘For Best Friend (Ghetto)’ by Asian Andy, had been available for purchase for more than four years. Others, like the ‘Crazy Excited Mexican Pick Up Now’ ringtone created by Class of ’93 Comedy Productions, were uploaded as recently as June.”

Lang reports, “Still available in the iTunes store: A ringtone called “Warning, Slut Calling.” For 29 seconds, it announces that ‘the person calling you is an absolute slut’ as alarm bells sound in the background.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The PC Police won’t be happy until humor is totally dead.

No wonder Robin Williams offed himself. (Black humor. He’d likely laugh at it if he could. If it “offends” you: Tough shit.)

When people can no longer laugh at themselves or each other — when everything becomes VERBOTEN! — that’s when the real problems begin and nutjob terrorists start shooting cartoonists dead.

People everywhere, and in the U.S. especially (where the PC Police disgustingly pervade much of the media), really need to relax and learn or relearn how to laugh at themselves. Not everything is an affront. Not everything is a “hate crime.” Sure, some things will be in poor taste. Not everyone is a gifted humorist, but the alternative is far, far worse. We remember when we used to be able to laugh at ourselves and we got along much better, too.

People (of questionable taste, perhaps, but that’s none of anyone’s business) are downloading and choosing to use these ringtones. They could easily make similar versions themselves. Apple isn’t forcing their use. Some people are choosing to use these ringtones. That is their right. Not everything is meant to 100% politically correct. Not everything is a thoughtcrime. Not everything is “mean-spirited.”

We do not envy Apple’s App Store keepers — or comedians, professors, or pretty much anybody else — in today’s climate of political correctness run amok.

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia — and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke. — Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, September 2015

We highly recommend reading the rest of “The Coddling of the American Mind” in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic here.


    1. The closest thing to god I’ve discovered are all the other imaginary things I’ve thought of. What does god have to do with anything? It’s entirely irrelevant. I don’t go to your church uninvited and start telling everyone what a joke the whole thing is. So don’t bring your religious bullshit here talking about it in unrelated forums.

  1. racist ringtones

    At first I thought: “How this even possible?”.

    The use of term “ringtones” is little off-putting in this context since “ring tones” are not songs/spoken audio snippets. Ringtones are usually melodies, hence the word “tones” (reference to tonal, tune-line sequence for phone’s ring sound).

  2. We shouldn’t give nut job wackos like this any attention. I’m sick and tired of all these offended “victims” trying to make us all conform to their ways. Piss on these people. If you don’t like something, stop using it.

    1. I am deeply offended that you associate wackos with ‘nut jobs’!

      You need to learn that we wackos are distinctly different from nut jobs by almost 1 IQ point! (although we are not offended by the ‘piss on you’ aspect, indeed we are offended if doing that offends you…)

      I will soon direct other readers to an online petition to set IQ-ist like you straight (not to be confused with un-gay).

      SJW Queen

    When will those people realize that we racist, crackers have rights too? We were here first, and we should be able to make fun of anyone who isn’t as superior as we are. That’s why we are SUPERIOR!
    GOD BLESS YOU! Keep up the good fight!

  4. It says a lot about someone who would go looking for such things. I have no idea they exist, or had no idea they existed. If such people are entertained by crap like this, so be it. It doesn’t hurt me.

    I live in a supposedly free society though. This often puts me in the awkward position of supporting the rights of idiots to express offensive ideas. It can be racism, Islam, or or liberal beliefs that back people and other minorities are inferior and thus need to be mollycoddled through life.

    1. Some people like to bring the offensive to your attention, so you can be offended too. It’s not fair if you are not offended. Ignorance is no excuse. The point? Since so few care, they are manufacturing a support group.

      Think about that. You are being used. I am too.

    2. It is very easy for someone to make their own ringtone. Or copy someone else’s created tone, and put it on their own iPhone. So nothing about this petition is restricting what an individual wants to do.

      The question is, should *Apple* be selling/providing ringtones that have crossed the line (of bad taste into being offensive)?

      1. Whose line?

        And that, succinctly, would be MacDailyNews’ point.

        Political correctness is one of the engines of nannyism. Allowing and even encouraging ‘offensive’ ideas is vital for the intellectual health of a free society. — David Harsanyi

        I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism. — P. D. James

        It’s this upside-down world that we live in where we afford political correctness to the most intolerant group of individuals on the planet. — Vince Flynn

        1. PC cannot be applied logically or fairly.

          For every group or constituency that opposes one philosophy, ideology, or belief system is another group or constituency with exactly the opposite thoughts and ideas. Therefore, supporting or acquiescing to one group or constituency is to be actively opposed to another. It is impossible to satisfy everyone and people will always support that faction that most shares their own thought and ideas. Someone will always feel slighted or disrespected.

        2. One of those rare times I agree with MDN and First 2014. The “thought police” have gotten way out of hand.

          I found some of the ringtones mentioned pretty offensive, but others kinda funny. Someone else would find them exactly the opposite.

          I agree that the Atlantic Magazine cover package is worth checking out — gasp! -=- even worth buying at the newsstand. I work at a college, and am a bleeding heart liberal, and even I find the whole concept of “micro-aggressions” and “trigger warnings” just plain silly

      2. There is very few things that are “offensive” to everyone, and there very few things that are NOT “offensive” to someone.

        Those who appoint themselves the arbiters of “offensive” always just happen to be left wing, and the only “offensive” things they care about are things “offensive” to THEM.

        1. Bob, Bob, Bob,

          Isn’t the right wing offended if someone burns the flag, or doesn’t thank a veteran, or believes government oversight of food production might be good, or thinks maybe everyone shouldn’t have to recite the same prayer, or can think of a situation where abortion might be a good idea?

          Offense is just a matter of perspective.

        2. Considering how many right wing commenters in the media have appointed themselves the arbiters of “offensive” (and the only “offensive” things they care about are things “offensive” to THEM), your statement is incorrect.

  5. Apple has become everything represented by the famous ad with a runner racing to throw a hammer at Big Brother.

    Like Orwell’s communist pigs, Apple is now Big Brother, telling its minions how to think and act.

    Any racist activities that make tons of money for Apple, like rap music denigrating women, will never be labelled as offensive.

    All hail Big Brother!

    1. Obviously denigrating women is not racists, but…

      For all of the down-votes your posted generated, I don’t see any intelligent, rational, or logical refutations of the idea you are conveying or presenting – that apple has become “the man”, is doing the things it was raging against 30 years ago.


  6. These issues do not bother those who are not the object of ridicule.

    However, what if stereotypical views of white Americans as viewed from other countries were included? Would you be so blase then about “PC Police” or “nut job wackos”?

    Think about it.

    Yoku kangaenasai.

      1. I don’t think the policies have anything to do with social justice, political correctness or any other similar reason.

        It is most likely a business decision. How to please the largest group of potential affluent customers, while alienating the fewest of them. If majority of people buying Apple products feel better knowing that their kid won’t be able to stumble, by accident, across a racist, sexist app, they will choose Apple over competition.

        1. “If majority of people buying Apple products feel better knowing that their kid won’t be able to stumble, by accident, across a racist, sexist app, they will choose Apple over competition.”

          Because tons of parents are worried about racist/sexist apps(content)? No they are not. If they were, they would never let their kids on the INTERNET.

          THE. INTERNET.

          Feigning offense is cancerous and deviant.

          1. I know…. but I’ve heard this argument from the parents in my school. Apparently, Apple has a pretty decent reputation for exactly this: filtering out the offensive stuff from the app store. A parent told me she would never buy an Android device for her daughter, because “…Android app store has all sorts of porno, racist, sexist stuff”. Meanwhile, she has no Parental Controls set up on her child’s Mac…

            1. “filtering out the offensive stuff from the app store”

              …Except rap (and other offensive fringe content).

              As applecynic said, “Slippery Slope”. I pointed this out when Apple did the confederate flag thing. Flags, but not rap. Why? $$$ and rap is socially acceptable.

            2. I thought we were discussing app store, not iTunes content.

              The point is valid, though, as it questions consistency. As I mentioned elsewhere, Apple isn’t required to be consistent; they are a public company, and their responsibility is to shareholders; not parents, or anyone else.

              Filtering “offensive stuff” from app store seems to be receiving mostly positive reaction from customers. Filtering hip-hop from iTunes would send customers to Amazon right away. As you said, $$$…

            3. Offensive is offensive, apps are no different.

              Apps are being targeted because Not as much money is involved. This way Apple is not exposed if sales fall and they can put on a show that they are doing something about it.

              It’s all hypocritical.

            4. It’s not just a matter of money, it’s a matter of culture. Rap and Hip-Hop is one of the largest and most successful musical genres in the last 20 years. You folks sound like my grandparents, shaking their fist at Elvis’ hips and “that damned rock ‘n’ roll!”

  7. Rather than play nanny, I’d rather rely upon social selection pressure. Suppose a guy’s phone rang in a subway car crowded with already hot and bothered commuters who took extreme offense at his ringtone. What would happen?

  8. The way this discussion is going seems to imply we are talking about public speech, but we are not.

    What Gary mentioned may be about the closest to the issue here: inconsistency between Apple’s official policies and their application. The AppStore guideline apparently prohibit offensive material (racist, sexist, etc). Meanwhile iTunes Store allows explicit (as well as offensive) material with only ‘Explicit’ labeling on it (and filtering for minors).

    I would like to know what is the rationalisation between filtering explicit, offensive, racist and sexist content in Apps, but letting it exist in music?

    Ultimately, I think it is a business decision, on both counts. There will be vocal opponents on both sides of these issues, but Apple has made a very calculated choice here: by curating apps to make sure they are ‘clean’, the platform appeals to a wide swath of people who don’t like the risk of stumbling across something offensive, either by themselves, of by their children. This is no small group, and Apple is clearly doing this to attract such group away from competing platforms where all is allowed (or at least curating is at best reactive, rather than proactive).

    On the matter of music, however, Apple is keenly aware that removing of explicit content would send large swaths of customers to competing platforms in search of such explicit content. It would also alienate many artists, not just the ones producing explicit content, for the reasons of “arbitrary censorship”.

    Many here will vehemently disagree with Apple’s somewhat arbitrary censorship policies on the App Store and Music Store. Whatever the consequences of such action, Apple’s most likely primary reason is business — how to attract best quality of customers, with most disposable income, while alienating the smallest number of them.

    As for the discussion of free speech, while it is certainly valid, it is not relevant to this story.

      1. I think (and act) on many issues. I’m suggesting that we prioritize. I also find it interesting that “racist” ringtones and emojies are suddenly problematic- when we glorify (and consume) all kinds of this stuff in movies, video games and HBO series…

  9. Shouldn’t MDN have ended the title of the article with. “…or Something” ❓

    Well at least they got rid of all of the Confederate Flag ringtones! /s

    (Edit: in retrospect, there probably are some ringtones that go “Flaa-ape, Flaaag, Flaa-ape. Thuh Sowth Wool Raaas Uh-gin!”)

    1. ……and another post making MDN’s point for them. Well done!

      Look, it’s not often I agree with both MDN AND 2014, but this is one case where all of us SHOULD be on the same page. The slippery slope of PC is terrifying to me more than any other potential issue. The loss of humor and free speech/thought/expression (yeah – they all go together) is the beginning of the path to a place I don’t want to go or live in.

      I may vehemently disagree with MDN or 2014 (especially 2014 – no offense – see what I did there?) but I sure as hell (and again there) support their right to express themselves publicly (and privately) however they damn well please. If I find something they say offensive, that’s on ME, not them. The question I need to ask is why am I offended? NOT, how can I make them stop offending me?

      We used to thrive on being a melting pot and proudly exhorted our cultural differences that we commonly came together to share. We used to laugh at ourselves AND each other and understood how to take a joke. A life without humor is no life at all. And THAT was the point MDN was making about Robin Williams.

  10. There’s a time when one feels offended: when being bullied, ridiculed, tested, teased, shamed for no reason, et cetera.

    But then there’s choosing to be offended; a false pretentious emotion just because you value yourself higher than anyone else, and when you take your “beliefs” and portray them as truth.

  11. Where is Apple when it comes to the violent, denigrating crap that is sold in the iTunes Store? Very steep, slippery and dangerous slope. Time for Apple to step away the politically correct world and let freedom ring!

    1. I mentioned this above; Apple is running a(n extremely successful) business and it is making business decisions that are meant to attract best customers.

      Curating (censoring?) apps is apparently with many Apple users who like not having to worry if their child will stumble across a rape app or some racist or offensive game or ring tone.

      Meanwhile, excluding all explicit music from Apple would practically wipe out one of the most popular genres of today’s contemporary music (Hip-hop / Rap), sending large numbers of customers to Amazon.

      Apple isn’t required to be consistent in its policies. They do what is necessary to grow their business. If they take a wrong step, the market will respond, and they will eventually react to such response.

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