Apple Forced to Pull Controversial Ad That Urged Startup Founders to Be Workaholics

Oh really? Twitter

Apple Music’s new reality show Planet of the Apps, which features celebrities like Jessica Alba and Gwyneth Paltrow judging developers’ ideas, has already been criticized as “dull” and “awkward.” But a new ad campaign urging founders to “put everything on the line” has landed the show in the middle of the age-old debate on work-life balance.

It all started with this poster, which Planet of the Apps released yesterday as part of its promotional push:

How did they not think this would backfire? Twitter

The featured developer, Andrew Kemendo, is an Air Force veteran whose app Pair is an “augmented reality commerce platform” that helps users create catalogs.

Apple tweeted out Kemendo’s quote, but deleted it after a barrage of social media criticism and accusations that the company was showing off the worst of Silicon Valley:

Kemendo told the Observer he was “surprised” by the passionate responses.

“While it’s true that I miss out on time with my family (like millions of Americans that work long hours to feed their families) it wasn’t a boast, just a fact,” he said.

Apple could not be reached for comment.

Kemendo may only be considering this “fact” after his newfound notoriety, but it’s a reality many founders—especially female ones—face all the time. Our column She’s the Boss features kickass women entrepreneurs who fight the work-life balance battle on a daily basis. We’ve also talked to women in tech who missed out on investments simply because they were pregnant.

Startup culture and the gig economy as a whole have been accused of advocating workaholism. Earlier this year one of our writers faulted Fiverr, a freelance services marketplace aimed at “doers,” for a series of subway ads which advocated sleep deprivation and “eating coffee for lunch.” One of the campaign’s slogans was “Got an idea? Isn’t that cute.”