The Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ANPUD) has posted an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The letter is asking the company to take down a number of games based on the current war on drugs. According to the ANPUD, many games use the real war on drugs for inspiration despite the fact that so many people have died from it.
The drug war at the centre of this new controversial letter is the one being waged by Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines. According to the Human Rights Watch, these policies have led to the death of more than 7,000 people. Over 2,000 of which are due to the Philippine National Police.
As a result, “these games valorise and normalise the emerging tyranny of Duterte’s presidency and his government’s disregard for human rights principles” writes the ANPUD in the letter. The letter itself refers to specific games such as “Duterte Running Man Challenge” and “Duterte Vs Zombies”.
This open letter was received by Reuters. It claims the Appl has violated its own guidelines and is promoting the current violence in the regions. The letter lists 131 organisations from around the world who all support this motion. Those involved are urging Apple to apologize for the “insensitive content” which they are currently hosting.
Apple is yet to respond to the letter. One of the developers of a game labelled in the letter has provided a statement. Randida Games, the developer of Tsip Bato, states that they included anti-drug messages in an effort to discourage drug use. However, the team is willing to make changes to the game “to remove the stigma that the game is promoting violence”.
It’s currently unclear how Apple will respond to this letter or if they will even acknowledge it. We will update you when we learn more.