The Daily Sting, Thursday: Apple Bans Conversion Therapy App, Russian City Condemns BTS Film
Let’s take a look at the day’s big gay headlines, starting with Apple deciding to remove a conversion therapy app that had been available in the app store for three years. And the new BTS film, a documentary about the Korean boy band, has been banned from a Russian city that considers it to be inconsistent with Islam.
In other news, we’ve got the latest on the accusations against Kevin Spacey, as an accuser claims he has video of the incriminating incident. Instagram was attacked by users after it changed its feed to a horizontal one — then quickly reverted it back. And a ruling against a NYC cab driver who kicked a man out of his car for being gay has been upheld.
From a conversion therapy app to the BTS film making headlines, here are the day’s big headlines:
1. Apple Removes Conversion Therapy App From Its App Store (Tech)
A conversion therapy app created by a Texas-based Christian ministry has officially been removed from Apple’s app store after being available for three years. The app intends to change LGBT people “from gay to straight through prayer and therapy.” These methods of the conversion therapy app have of course been discredited by the American Psychiatric Association and other organizations, and have been banned from several U.S. states altogether. “We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people,” says Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, which petitioned the app’s removal. The Christian ministry plans to appeal the decision.
2. NYC Cab Drivers Can’t Kick Gay People From Their Cars (News)
The New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings upheld a ruling by the Taxi & Limousine Commission against a cab driver who kicked a man out of his cab because he was gay. According to the New York Post, when the driver turned around and asked the man whether he was gay — and he responded that yes, he was — the driver said he doesn’t drive gay people and pulled over. The driver was suspended for 10 days and has been fined $1,150.
A movie theater in the city of Makhachkala, Russia, has canceled the planned premiere of the BTS movie BTS World Tour: Love Yourself in Seoul, a documentary about the world-famous Korean boy band. A social media campaign reportedly accused the group of “over-the-top immoral behavior” and referred to its members as “seven Korean homosexuals,” despite none of them being openly gay. Russia’s ‘gay propaganda ban’ has been in place since 2013. The BTS movie is still planned to debut in Russia on Jan. 26.
4. Accidental Instagram Update Infuriates Users Before It’s Nixed (Tech)
Instagram users grew furious this morning when it appeared that Instagram had released an update that changed its vertical feed into a horizontal one, similar to how Instagram Stories works. Many took to the platform itself to voice their disgust for the new layout, and even Mashable tweeted, “What are you doing Instagram???” But Instagram was quick to respond, with a spokesperson commenting, “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.” Phew.
5. Kevin Spacey Accuser Is Claiming to Have Video of His Assault (Celebrities)
Kevin Spacey, 59, will be charged with assault and battery in January, and one of the many people who have accused the American actor now says he took video via Snapchat of the incident in question. The alleged victim, a bus boy who says he wanted a picture with the actor, claims he drank with Spacey in a bar, and that the actor spoke of the size of his penis before groping him. Before leaving the bar, the alleged victim claims he sent a Snapchat to his girlfriend because she didn’t believe what he said was happening. Before Christmas and after the fact that Spacey would be charged (and could serve prison time) came to light, the actor released the above video in which he portrays House of Cards character Frank Underwood but appears to address the real-life accusations against him.