Organizations that support those who stutter are angry at Apple for allowing some of the company’s devices to automatically suggest the use of a woozy face emoji when the word “stammering” is typed. Stammering is often used as a way to convey stuttering and Apple’s actions have led a British charity to describe Apple’s support for stammering as “demeaning and damaging.”
People who stutter or stammer are considered to have a neurological decision that makes it hard for them to speak. “Someone who stutters will repeat, prolong or get stuck on sounds or words. There might also be signs of visible tension as the person struggles to get the word out.” Some, like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, will outgrow stuttering while others have issues with it throughout their lives.
More current examples of stutterers include President Joe Biden and actors Marilyn Monroe and Samuel Jackson. STAMMA, the British Stammering Association, says that it has received complaints about the suggested use of the stammering emoji by iPhone and iPad users. It recommends that the organization’s supporters and members report issues through Apple’s Product Feedback page
“Please check your Apple phones and devices and if you find this occurring, register feedback on the Apple website. Select the relevant hardware product, and put ‘Inappropriate emoji’ in the subject line and select “Other” under Feedback Type. In the message, please cite complaint case ID 101412774805.”
The stammer emoji is controversial since it could be considered an insult to those who stutter
The association’s CEO, Jane Powell, says, “This is demeaning and damaging. Stammering is how some people talk. Treating it as a joke is stigmatizing. It can leave people embarrassed about how they sound, bullied and ashamed which can affect their mental health, careers and relationships.”
Not every Apple device is affected as the stammering emoji is recommended on the iPhone 5s
, iPhone 7
, iPhone SE
, iPhone 11
, iPhone XR
, iPhone 12 Pro Max
and on iPads. Ironically, if you type stuttering, the recommendation does not appear at all. The official gate keeper to the emoji world, Unicode, lists #58 as “woozy face” which means that the naming of it as “stammering” apparently comes from Apple itself.
The optics look bad for Apple here.