steve jobs
February 11, 2018

Apple’s iBooks Is Promoting Content Steve Jobs Wanted to Keep Off the iPhone

According to TechCrunch and Huffington Post, Apple founder Steve Jobs replied to a customer’s complaint about a lack of porn in the App Store with the following statement: “we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.” Both news outlets also reported that after the iPhone 4 release, he made this remark about porn availability on Apple products: “You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go – so we’re not going to go there.”

From the mouth of Apple’s founding father, Apple has “a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” Unfortunately, current Apple products openly market and sell violent, racist, and rape-myth riddled pornography.

While it’s widely recognized that viewing sex is pornography, as a community we often ignore written pornography. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute defines pornography as “photographs, films, books, or other material depicting erotic or sexual acts designed to cause sexual arousal.” 

iBooks Steve Jobs Moral Responsibility

We have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. - Steve Jobs. @Apple it's time to #CleanUpiBooks Click To Tweet

Beyond Steve Jobs, Apple has continued to pride itself on corporate responsibility. During the last two years, Apple has been featured in the news as one of the leaders in cleaning up supply chains. In Apple’s supplier responsibility report, they say “our goal is to equip our suppliers with the capability to one day independently uphold all labor and human rights protections,” and “we remain steadfast in our commitment to improve lives.”

Apple, so vocal in their concern about human rights in their supply chain, may be ignoring a human rights issue supported in part by their own product, iBooks. The WHO says that “sexual violence is a serious public health and human rights problem,” but iBooks enthusiastically promotes and sells erotic novels that exploit women (including minorities), glorify sexual violence, and support rape myths.

Apple should be just as concerned about the impact their products have on the human rights and public health crisis of pornography as they are about taking responsibility for their supply chain.

Emilee Pugh Bell


Emilee Pugh Bell is a Communications & Development intern at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She will be graduating from Brigham Young University (BYU) in December with her degree in English language and minors in nonprofit management and editing. Before coming to NCOSE, Emilee worked with students to develop their social innovation skills as a Ballard Center internship director. She also interned with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation developing the Empowerment+ program. Emilee speaks out about sexual exploitation because of the pain it has caused many of her friends and family members. After graduation, she will continue to be involved in organizations that empower the weak and powerless. Emilee enjoys being in the outdoors, reading, knitting, and spending time with her husband, family, and church community.

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