Bungie apologizes for modified "KEK" logo on a pair of gauntlets.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/8x84kp/destiny-2-included-a-legendary-gauntlet-with-a-white-supremacist-logo
Bungie apologizes for modified "KEK" logo on a pair of gauntlets.
WTF? They better have a good damn answer for this one or that shit is getting deleted real quick off my hard drive
Yeah, At first I thought it might just be a coincidence, like I think the gauntlet is supposed to have some kind of chevron design, but after looking at the flag it’s pretty clear.
Just goes to show the lengths these people will go to dog whistle to their followers.
Hopefully Bungie does the right thing and takes this seriously.
Ye, at first I tried to see how it would come up coincidentally (taking a rank insignia on either side of the lines) but it’s too close for me to really accept that’s actually how this happened. It would seem to be one designer inserting the pattern in deliberately that makes far more sense.
Wow wow this is really bad.
One of the defenses of supremacists and nazis involves dismissing or downplaying shared iconography because of “coincidence” or saying it was “unintensional.” Then they can point to outrage as “overreaction,” “a witch hunt,” or “So everything you don’t like is a Nazi?” It paints opposition as quick to judge and impulsive while still dog-whistling to supporters. To me that’s more disgusting than the actual symbol.
I want to believe that this wasn’t intentional, that a designer thought he created a neat looking piece of armor or because of current events somebody unintentionally recreated something they saw on the news. But it’s way too close to the flag to where it’s more believable that some chan-goer snuck it past their unassuming supervisor.
I guess removing it from the game as quickly as it was noticed is a good first step but it feels like they need to make a statement here at the very least and frankly whoever put this in here NEEDS to be fired.
I don’t see the need for someone to get fired if they investigate and come to the conclusion that it was an accident, because at least to me the symbolism isn’t clear enough to immediately condemn anyone.
But hey, if they find that it was put there intentionally as white supremacist iconography then fuck that and they need to take action to fire the person responsible.
(edit: after looking more at the “kekistan” flag it’s uh… much clearer to me where the symbolism lies, man screw that)
I think part of the difficulty is that its hard to imagine the scenario where, if they can trace this back to an original artist, that person doesn’t jump to “it was a coincidence” or “I wasn’t aware of the white supremacist connotations” (which is something that Zacny touches on when talking about how the whole thing can just be positioned as just-a-joke in the piece). Short of Bungie digging up chat logs or e-mails where they tell someone else “hey, I’m gonna put this in this game as a white supremacist thing”, it will get very difficult to prove that it was intentionally white supremacist iconography in that sense.
For me, that tilts me towards feeling that some action should be taken, if only as “don’t put this kind of material in the art you produce for us”. That’s just my view, though.
I don’t know their workflow, but I’d be very surprised if this wasn’t something that could be very easily traced back to the original artist. Further it’d probably have to go through at least 1 layer of approval, although I could reasonably believe that the approver wasn’t aware (at least they will be now).
As is the accepted way to express displeasure with a corporation these days I went and made a tweet thread that if it gets any traction will get me harassed by white supremacists:
That was an excellent report by Rob Zacny. I agree that, “they are reaching when they say, “It is not intentional.” I’m sure it’s not intentional on the part of Bungie or Activision. But it’s the intent of someone.”
Bungie’s Twitter response is typical corporate evasion. Though I’m glad they removed it, someone had to design those gauntlets. Someone had to approve them. To me, at best, it’s a person or persons who have fallen for the “shell game,” as Zacny calls it. At worst, it’s an attempt by a professional designer—an actual adult with a job—to insert a nod of support to white supremacists and in a way that provides them an alibi.
To be fair to the approval people I have never heard of Kekistan or it’s flag and had no idea about this design so I wouldn’t have even looked twice at it if Rob hadn’t written this.
Austin suggested a position where people study/follow trends from hate groups who reviews the work to ensure this kind of snafu doesn’t happen again which sounds capital “m” Miserable. People appeared to reply that that position already exists at other studios & I personally think those people deserve a drink.
Edit: And money.
I suppose it can’t be that much worse than being a normal community/social media management type for a game/studio. Which is more an indictment of gamers than anything else, but.
I think calling for someone to be fired is… complex. I’m not against it necessarily, although it can be devastating beyond just like, now you have to find a new job (for instance, I am rather well off but I need insurance to get prescription medicine, and that insurance is tied to my employment).
All that said, I think more important than punishing the individual here (which, again, im not against, just conflicted) I think what I really want to see is something Austin and others have mentioned on twitter, which is bungie instituting a process of training people to vet their art for symbolism like this, and other steps to prevent mistakes like this from happening.
It’s complex for sure, and calling for firing is a gut reaction to learning there may be white supremacists working on a game you like and play, you want that person off the team, but I definitely think there should be a specific hire and/or training centered around vetting art for harmful iconography, so it doesn’t happen again.
You don’t have to study hate groups to know this stuff. You just have to be, as they say, “extremely logged on”. These symbols aren’t secrets, they are just knowledge specific to the internet. Most of us here are very online, and so we recognize this symbol, and yet we aren’t scholars.
I don’t think there’s any excuse for this. The game is an online-only game, meant to act as a facet of your daily life, and will therefore be made by and attract people with whom being online all day is something with which they are very comfortable. The only scenario that makes sense to me is that literally one or two people made an approval pass on this design, and that they happened to be part of the 1% of the people on the dev team who don’t spend much time on Twitter.
You can be online all day without knowing all the hate group symbols. “The internet” isn’t a single tight-knit monolithic community – it’s a technological platform that hosts an entire multiverse of sometimes extremely disconnected pocket-universes.
I don’t think that dismissing the importance of research is the right approach. It’s not, like, PhD level groundbreaking research, just basic searches, but it’s still research – it is not correct to assume that everyone shares the same knowledge just because they use a particular medium.
edit: To clarify, this is what I was responding to:
I’m online way too much, I have a passing knowledge of “Kekistan” and I had never seen the flag. I didn’t know there was a flag.
Without knowledge of the flag, this armor looks like fairly bog standard military chevrons in a bright color. I can certainly understand an art director looking at that and thinking it was fine. That’s part of the appeal of using dog whistles. You have to be clued in to notice them.
I’m going to fall on the side of coincidence here. I’m a 38-year-old super-liberal dude who spends a ton of time online.
Until this article, I had never heard of Kekistan, seen their flag, or recognized their symbology. Maybe that’s a failing for me in not knowing my natural adversaries, but there it is. I guess I don’t spend enough time doing oppo on Reddit or 4chan.
However, I am a fairly obsessive Destiny player. Destiny’s design language is plastered with geometry like this, down to its loading screens. The chevrons and straight lines motif on these arms are all totally within overall aesthetic of the human forces. And these arms in particular read to me like a variant on the three-arrow Hunter symbol.
It’s unfortunate that in this case it’s a super-close match to the Kekistan garbage, but I’m going to side with Bungie in that this was completely unintentional, unless an investigation proves otherwise. And I’m with Austin in suggesting that a staff position be created just to look into clearing art through this… but I’m not sure how you would even start looking into “Is this piece of art a symbol for anything bad?”