Why Apple Dropped the Gun Emoji

January 10, 2017 - Aasif Mandvi 01/10/2017 Views: 35,436

Roy Wood Jr. finds out how a gun control activist was able to get Apple to replace its handgun emoji with a water pistol emoji. (4:52)

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Let's talk a little bitabout gun control.

Uh, it's one of those issuesAmerica will never agree on.

Like if the movie Arrival was good or not.

Which I don't understand.Come on, people, it's great.

I don't know how anyone canhate on alien squid graffiti.

Come on, people.

People love debatinggun control so much

they're even inventingnew ways to do it,

and Roy Wood Jr. investigates.

WOOD: Gun violence is destroying communities all over America,

especially in streets like these.

Well, not these streets.

I'm lost right nowtrying to find Applebee's.

But right here in New York there's a anti-gun kingpin

that's got these (bleep) running scared,

so I'm going undercover to talk to this woman

who thinks she has the secret to stopping gun violence.

Our culture is saturatedwith guns,

and our gun violence epidemichas only grown worse.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violencedecided it's-it's time

-to do something.-So what did your group do?

We got rid of the gun emoji.

-Wait, that's it?-Yes.

WOOD: (bleep).

To solve gun violence, this lady just bugged Apple

until they replaced the gun emoji with a water gun emoji.

But what's that gonna do?

Gun... It's a gun picture.

No, you're missing-you'remissing the point.

-It's a picture of a gun.-Yes, it is.

The whole point therewas to elevate the issue.

So you looked at allthe gun problems in the world

and you thought,"Okay, what can I solve

that's not one of those?"

Symbolism's important.The symbols,

the images of gunsare pervasive.

Even the Pixar movies.

You have Woody with a gun,and you've got Buzz Lightyear.

-Buzz Lightyear has a laser.-Right.

He's out here lasering (bleep).

Well, not only,um, (bleep), but, um,

every year 33,000 Americanson average are killed by guns.

WOOD: All right, maybe these symbols are important.

But not everybody's happy about the gun emoji crackdown.

I hit up one of those white millennials

that's all pissed off about Leah's campaign.

The gun emoji was one of myfavorite emojis to use

and now it's replacedwith a water gun.

I'm not passionate aboutshooting water

out of a squirt gun.

I'm passionate about shootingammo out of a real gun.

Now I can't express it.

Why not justwrite the word "gun"?

-I want to...-Type "gun."

-...to talk about a gun.-Type the word "gun."

It's just...

You can just type...type the word "gun."

I like to use cartoons.

(bleep) millennials.

Turns out you can still get gun emojis on the black market.

And if there's anybodythat knows the black market,

it's my man Michael K. Williams,because he has a show

called Black Marketwith Michael K. Williams.

-What up, man?-You got the guns?

-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -All right,so where you get these guns

from-- you got 'emfrom Germany, from Russia?

The app store.

-You get guns from a app store?-Yeah, man, yeah.

Turns out you can get gun emojis in the app store,

but the issue is some of these people

didn't want to pay the exorbitant 99 cent fee.

I don't reallyconsider that the issue.

By removing the pistol emoji,

it violatesmy second amendment rights.

Wait, how-how is this violatingyour second amendment rights?

Our Founding Fathers...advocated for people

to be ableto express themselves freely.

Okay, so I'll bea Founding Father,

and you explainthe gun emoji issue.


I was updating my phoneand I found out that Apple...

-had replaced... -What is thatwretched demon object?


Burn it immediately!

This is crazy!Oh, (bleep), I'm black.

It's a good thing the Founding Fathers

didn't have smartphones.

All they'd do is text their slaves.

But one thing's for sure: gun emojis

aren't the only images that Leah's trying to mess with.

You tell me if we needto get rid of these

like we have the gun emoji.

-(imitates gunshot)-No, no, it's fine.

But it's the symbol of a gun.

It could also just bepointing at someone.

No one points like thisother than people

that call you "chief."Hey, what's up, Chief?

Is this a symbolof gun violence?

You're literallyconcealing "gun"

between your firstand last name.

It is the nameof a Scottish clan,

so I'm... I-I wear itwith pride.

-They got the Klan in Scotland?-No, Gunn clan. the Gunn...

-The clan got guns?-No.

Okay, just don't say "clan."

Look, I don't have time for this (bleep).

This clan lady with a "C" thinks that gun emojis

are getting people killed in the streets.

And then this millenial gun nut is all pissed off

because she can't drunk text arms anymore?

Drunk text arms?

Emojis were invented for peoplewho are too drunk to type words.

I just... I do enjoy usingemojis. They're fun, you know?

Like pictures, but they havemeanings behind them.

Gotcha. So if I wanted to say"fat booty" I'd say "peach."


Everybody knows "eggplant"means "penis."

Everybody knows "pineapple"

is when you (bleep).

-What?-And then two of their friends

walk in and they (bleep).

The pineapple?

I might have it confused.That might be grape.

The gun emoji ain't coming back to the iPhone no time soon.

'Cause it's realin these streets.

Battle rages on. Oh, (bleep).

There go my Applebee's!