Change.org calls on Apple to ban ‘sexist Sugar Daddy’ app

20 Jun 2011

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Activist group Change.org has called on Apple to block Sugar Sugar, a new app that sets up ‘Sugar Daddy’ relationships, which the group claims is sexist, anti-gay and pro-prostitution.

The campaign is calling on Apple to remove an application from its online App Store, citing content offensive to women and LGBT people.

The app ‘Sugar Sugar’ sets up dates between “generous men looking to spoil, and dynamic women looking for financial support with bills.”

Activists say ‘Sugar Sugar’ encourages male users to exploit women by purposefully pairing vulnerable women with powerful men in a system with no accountability.

Diane Adams, a maths teacher in Pennsylvania who started the campaign, says the app also uses derogatory and sexist language towards women, infantilising them as "sugar babies" while men are “sugar daddies.”

Change.org says that when a user selects their gender as female, a male partner is automatically populated, and the website won’t allow a search for same-sex pairings.

The activist group also says ‘Sugar Sugar’ also has no age verification system. Activists say this makes it easy for older men to use the site to lure underage girls into child sex trafficking.

“I use an Apple computer at work, and my daughter has a MacIntosh laptop and iPod,” said Adams.

“I hope Apple will refuse to launch the ‘Sugar Sugar’ app for its products, and that the company will be vigilant in prohibiting the use of any other apps that take advantage of vulnerable people in society, especially those that promote human trafficking.”

Controversial gay cure app

Adams is not the first person to start a campaign calling on Apple to block an offensive app. In March, LGBT advocacy group Truth Wins Out led a successful campaign on Change.org asking Apple to rid its store of an app which purported to “cure” gay people of their “immoral” sexual orientation. Apple eventually agreed the app violated its terms of service by being “offensive to large groups of people” and removed the app.

Adams and the other activists point out that promoting prostitution and sexual exploitation, denying same-sex relationships exist, and demeaning women as "babies" all violate Apple’s terms of service, which states that "apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected."

“Apple has already responded to two campaigns started on the Change.org platform by removing offensive and illegal apps from their store,” said Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org. “We are now honoured to host Ms. Adams’ campaign to block the ‘Sugar Sugar’ app.”

The ‘Sugar Sugar’ app was set to launch 1 June, but according to the company behind it, it has been delayed due to technical issues.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com