France - United States

Apple blocks French classical music station's app after erotic broadcast

Edouard Manet's Olympia was the illustration for the France Musique app
Edouard Manet's Olympia was the illustration for the France Musique app Musée d'Orsay

Apple has dropped the app of French state broadcaster France Musique, apparently because of a programme about the erotic in music. Outraged French media have accused the California-based technology giant of censorship.


Apple has so far not explained its reasons for dropping the app of France's best-known classical and jazz music station.

But at the end of April it warned the station that François-Xavier Szymczak's broadcast on the erotic in music, one his evening show l'Air du Soir, was "inappropriate" and threatened to take unspecified action.

The programme started with a warning that it might not be suitable for young people before Szymczak went on to read an explicit text by 16th-century French priest Clément Janequin and then play various pieces of music he felt had an erotic edge.

The show's app was illustrated by a reproduction of Edouard Manet's famous nude, Olympia.

Astonished to find the app had vanished from Apple's app-store on 4 May, France Musique's new media chief Laurent Frisch protested that the action was like being take off the air.

"We are in discussion with them and expect to find out the basic reason," he toldLe Figaro newspaper. "The multinational can impose rules that are sometimes opaque."

While it is waiting for an explanation and, perhaps, a change in Apple policy, the station hopes to reclassify its content - which generally features more Beethoven than bonking - as suitable for over-17s.

This is not the first time French and American conceptions of art and obscenity have clashed on the internet.

A French Facebook man has brought a case against Facebook because it blocked him for publishing a reproduction of Gustave Courbet's L'Origine du Monde, a painting of a woman's vagina.

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