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More on the Confession iPhone app.

Today Dr. Gary Remafedi, a researcher at University of Minnesota, wrote a letter to Apple claiming that the App misrepresents his research on homosexuality and asks for the app to be removed. Here is the letter:

Dear Messrs. Jobs and Cook,

This message serves as a request to remove the Exodus International application from Apple’s iphone offerings because the website content is objectionable. It erroneously cites my research (Remafedi 1992) in support of claims that homosexuality can be changed.

Various professional organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental or physical condition. Programs which aim to change sexual orientation have been opposed because they are unwarranted, ineffective, unethical, and harmful.

Exodus’s website features an article (Buchanan 2010) which makes erroneous statements and conclusions and attributes them to Remafedi (1992). Statements were made to the effect to that many teens are confused about their sexual orientation and that sexual orientation is amenable to change.  Further, associating my work with that of the ex-gay ministry and other unfounded treatments is professionally injurious and grievous.

As a savvy consumer, I understand that corporations market phones both by offering a wide array of applications and by appealing to niche audiences like Exodus’s. In turn, Exodus applies the Apple “4+” smartphone application rating to its own website as an imprimatur (see http://exodusinternational.org/).

From my perspective, the risk of offending and harming consumers by providing a platform for erroneous information about an important health and social topic far outweighs the potential financial gain. Arguably, corporations have no affirmative responsibility to vendors under the First Amendment of the Constitution, but they are accountable for the quality and consequences of their products.

For the aforementioned reasons, I ask Apple to revoke the 4+ rating and delete the Exodus application from the iphone’s menu of applications.

Respectfully,

Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H

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