A University of Minnesota professor is demanding that Apple remove from its online store a smart-phone app that he says distorts his research on homosexuality to support the argument that homosexuality is a behavior that can be changed.
Dr. Gary Remafedi, director of the Youth and AIDS Projects and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, sent a letter Monday to Apple founder Steven Jobs and its interim CEO, Tim Cook, about the Exodus International app.
Remafedi wrote that the app "erroneously cites my research in support of claims that homosexuality can be changed. ... Associating my work with that of the ex-gay ministry and other unfounded treatments is professionally injurious and grievous."
In an interview Monday, he said Exodus' app falsely cites his research as saying the young people are "confused" about their sexual orientation.
Florida-based Exodus International, which describes itself as "the world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction," says its app is "a useful resource for men, women, parents, students and ministry leaders."
A rival national organization, Truth Wins Out, said the app directs users to a Web page that answers various questions about homosexuality, among them: "If people are same-sex attracted but don't ever act on it, does that make them homosexual?" In the answers, Exodus "twists the findings of Dr. Remafedi" from 1992 to make it appear homosexuality is "just a transitory phase in youth," Truth Wins Out said in a statement.
Remafedi said he has challenged many misrepresentations of his work over the years and has had "100 percent" success in doing so.
He said an Apple administrator sent him an e-mail in response to his letter. "They said they are on it," Remafedi said. "I am simply pointing out a problem. I'm sure they will do the right thing."
Calls to Apple for comment were not returned Monday.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482