UK stammer charity slams Apple over 'ableist' and 'demeaning' emoji search

Emoji On Apple Watch
Emoji On Apple Watch (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has been severely criticized by a UK charity over one of its emojis.
  • STAMMA, a charity that supports people who stammer, says Apple's "woozy face" emoji should not be linked to stammering.
  • The charity's head says using the emoji is ableist and demeaning.

A UK charity for people who stammer has slammed Apple over the iOS woozy face emoji that comes up when you search for "stammer" or "stammering" on an Apple device.

STAMMA published a report today stating "hundreds of you have contacted us to tell us that a 'woozy face' emoji automatically appears on iPhones and iPads when typing the word 'stammering' into messages."

The report describes the emoji as a yellow face "with a crumpled mouth and a cockeyed expression", claiming a similar emoji exists on WhatsApp which "also features a tongue hanging out", although we weren't able to find this in our search.

The charity says it has been "inundated" by complaints from its members, and STAMMA's CEO stated:

"This is demeaning and damaging. Stammering is how some people talk. Treating it as a joke is stigmatising. It can leave people embarrassed about how they sound, bullied and ashamed which can affect their mental health, careers and relationships."

As you can see from our image below, a quick search of 'stammer' in iMessage does indeed bring up the emoji mentioned.

Image From Ios

Image From Ios (Image credit: iMore)

One user told STAMMA:

"This comes up on my phone when I type stammering! This is ableist, as sometimes people who stammer make facial expressions when experiencing a block, and this almost mimics that. I hope Apple realise this and apologise"

Another user said they were "horrified" by the emoji and hoped it could be sorted.

iMore has reached out to Apple for comment on the matter.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9