It’s times like these that we’re reminded that anyone can put an app on to Android’s version of the App Store, Google Play. The official app marketplace from Google has been host to offensive apps before, and on multiple occasions has helped spread malware or has otherwise deceived customers with fraudulent apps. Unlike Apple’s App Store for iOS, Google Play is open, meaning anyone could upload an app they created without it being checked properly for malware, exploits, or even offensive themes.
One game in particular stands out for it’s offensive and hateful message against gay men, Ass Hunter. The game was finally pulled from Google Play, but only after more than 10,000 people downloaded it.
Even with all the progress LGBT people have made over the last few years, with greater overall acceptance, anti-discrimination laws, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and now same-sex marriage rights spreading across the US, it’s hard to remember that there are still many hateful individuals throughout the US and across the globe. Discrimination against LGBT is still widespread, and dangerous stereotypes create dangerous situations for LGBT people in everyday life. Gay men and women fear being in public with their loved ones, and trans men and women fear going outside as their true selves because violence against members of the LGBT community is still a very real concern. These fears are pushed on them by ignorant and hateful people, who propagate harmful stereotypes. This is why a game like Ass Hunter isn’t just offensive, it’s downright dangerous.
In the game, players are told they have to kill gay men before they “get them”. In fact, the app is advertised with the following tag lines:
“Watch out behind you!”
“Play and do not be gay!”
“When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want.”
This pushes the harmful stereotype that gay men are sexual deviants, out to rape other men or trick them into having sex with them. It’s an ignorant stance, and one that has fueled hatred and violence against gay men and trans women for decades. It’s a stereotype that people are beginning to realize isn’t true, but is still upheld by many bigots as reasoning for their hatred. These ideas are hurtful, and encourage violence against LGBT people. A game that portrays such violence has no place in our society.
Google did pull the app, as their app guidelines speciffically mention that apps “advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity” will not be permitted on Google Play. However, this app was up long enough to be downloaded by 10,000 people. Whether or not those people were just curious as to how despicable the app was, or if they downloaded it because they like the idea of killing gay men, cannot be determined. However, the game received at least 200 5 star reviews from people enjoying their virtual hate crimes, and that’s frightening.
Sources: Mashable, Business Insider, The Independent