Gauntlet Removed

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#1 Edited by Zirilius (1698 posts) -

Waypoint Article

Bungie has declared in various twitter posts that it will be removing a Legendary item from the game due to it appearing to be similar to other racial insignia. I applaud Bungie for making the decision and also making the decision public but I think it's a bit of a stretch. I do see the similarities that are being referenced but I also know that KeK has many internet references dating all the way back to the origins of World of Warcraft (if not further).

Again I can't fault Bungie for being cautious on this.

Edit: Separate article with Bungie Response

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#2 Posted by spamfromthecan (129 posts) -

That must be what the small 1.03 patch just was.

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#3 Posted by BoccKob (471 posts) -

Well, that certainly is one of the most far-reaching acts of stupidity I've seen in recent memory.

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#4 Posted by Hestilllives19 (1167 posts) -

https://twitter.com/Bungie/status/907648309740822528

Here is Bungie's offical Tweet about the issue. We've been talking about it a lot over on Discord. I particularly thought it was hilarious that they said "We renounce hate in all forms." This would imply that they did in fact at one time "engaged in or support" hate in all forms, but are now turning against that. I bet the intern who wrote that post is in so much trouble...

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#5 Posted by TheHT (15538 posts) -

https://twitter.com/Bungie/status/907648309740822528

Here is Bungie's offical Tweet about the issue. We've been talking about it a lot over on Discord. I particularly thought it was hilarious that they said "We renounce hate in all forms." This would imply that they did in fact at one time "engaged in or support" hate in all forms, but are now turning against that. I bet the intern who wrote that post is in so much trouble...

Hah, yeah that's pretty funny.

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#6 Edited by Drakoji (371 posts) -

The waypoint article is sooooo bad. They just can't believe that the design was made without any ill will and DEMANDED that Bungie removed the item.

I understand that the symbology behind the design is bad and toxic, but they just designed something that looked like another thing. I'd be surprised that Bungie put that item in the on purpose.

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#7 Edited by spamfromthecan (129 posts) -

Doesn't kek just mean lol? That is the only time I've ever heard it. When someone references WoW, and uses kek to mean lol.

Never mind, just googled it.

I also don't think the images are similar enough, and this all seems pretty silly to me.

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#8 Posted by Zirilius (1698 posts) -

@hestilllives19: Lots of people correcting them in saying they should have "denounced" instead of "renounced".

Doesn't kek just mean lol? That is the only time I've ever heard it. When someone references WoW, and uses kek to mean lol.

That's basically what I've always took it to mean. Apparently it has some meaning in League but I'm too old to know it is.

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#9 Posted by burncoat (457 posts) -

@drakoji: I know it's super easy to assume that it was just designed similar, but white supremacists and neo-nazis have a history of making "similar but different" designs or references and then pointing to the obvious differences as proof of coincidence. It paints their opponents that raise awareness as quick to judge, impulsive, and irrational while simultaneously laughing amongst themselves and dog-whistling supporters. It happened with the "OK" gesture being a "joke" to trick progressives that people were using a White Power symbol which actual white supremacists took to be an actual symbol and freely use it amongst themselves and in rallies and protests.

I really want to believe it was an honest mistake made by a designer who either thought he made a cool thing or accidentally influenced by seeing the kek flag in the news. But it's hard to ignore the obvious similarities and the history these people desperately try to dog-whistle that somebody on prominent teams are "their guy."

Also, Waypoint didn't demand they remove anything, Bungie did it themselves after they were notified.

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#10 Posted by OurSin_360 (6065 posts) -

Renounce fits, it's not like it wasn't their own design team making the art.

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#11 Posted by owack6 (346 posts) -

The wow thing happened way before and i'm not sure it has anything to do with the current incarnation of it.

Here is the context of what it currently means:

The Cult of Kek, also known as the Church of Kek, is a satirical religion based around the worship of the ancient Egyptian deity Kek[4] (also spelled Kuk or Keku), an androgynous God of darkness and chaos who is often depicted as a frog or frog-headed man in male form or a snake-headed woman in female form. On 4chan, the character Pepe the Frog is often considered a modern avatar of the diety, who uses ancient Egyptian meme magic to influence the world, often by fulfilling the wishes of posts that end in repeating numbers.

There is some egyptian god who is a frog that is called kek so it helped create the whole thing.

Some people use it for nefarious reasons and some people just use it as a spoof of religion, just like any symbol it can be used by anyone and for any reason.

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#12 Posted by superdomino (207 posts) -

@owack6: The really damning part though, is the use of the actual KEK logo, not just the evocation of "kek" or pepe. That logo exists only on the KEK flag and it serves as the substitute for the swastika. The whole flag is a pallet swap of the Nazi war flag; it replaces red with green, the swastika with the KEK and the iron crosses with the 4chan logo. The KEK and its colors are used specifically as subversive white supremacist rallying imagery. I'm not here saying "Bungie, the company, planned this" but someone one did. It may have been a freelance designer or maybe someone inside the company--regardless of the source it's hard to believe that wasn't intentional.

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#13 Edited by fatalbanana (967 posts) -

for good reference: this is what Kekistan is. (it's a white supremacist thing)

and here is the armor
and here is the armor
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced
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#14 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

It's quite the accusation that someone did this on purpose to offend. It is very easy to see this creative work was just not taking into account the entirety of the earth and all the politics within it. On top of that, the whole Kek thing never meant something racist until people allowed it to mean that. It used to mean 'LOL'. You're really giving people power when you allow them to hijack a word like that. When people use it in that negative connotation, you should laugh at them for being dumb. Choosing to get offended by it is less ideal and suggesting there was foul play involved in this design seems pretty weak to me.

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#15 Edited by BoccKob (471 posts) -

At what point are you all going to be too afraid to speak, act, or draw anything just in case it might possibly be interpreted as maybe sharing a partial association with something that's unpopular before you realize how asinine that thought process is?

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#16 Posted by superdomino (207 posts) -

Yes thats the origin of the term but you cant just walk back the history of a hateful words and say "well it started innocent so it's still innocent." Seriously dawg--look at those photos above your post. If it was just the letters "kek" then sure, i hear you. But there's sooo much imagery in those gauntlets that is pulled from that flag. Im not saying that people in WoW chats typing "kek" in the same way they always did should be considered hateful--but this--this is pulling those specific images from that specific flag that very specifically is a symbol for the current white-supremacy movement.

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#17 Posted by WhatsHisFace (744 posts) -

Eh... I got that piece of armor and thought it was ugly. That's it. I didn't know this cult or whatever was a thing. I bet they love the free advertisement.

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#18 Edited by OurSin_360 (6065 posts) -

@zevvion: Language changes, symbols change I highly doubt whoever designed this didn't know what they were doing at least at this point . I mean the alt right is just now being outed as a hate group anyway, using jokes to express their ideology to deflect actual criticism worked pretty well honestly.

I mean i could draw a reverse swatstika and say i'm drawing the buddhist manji symbol it was based off of, but that would be a pretty big stretch to believe.

@bocckob This drawing is pretty blatant, like you would have better odds of winning the lotto IMO.

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#19 Posted by Hestilllives19 (1167 posts) -

@zevvion: I'd totally agree with you if it wasn't for what is on @fatalbanana's post that clearly shows the actual White Supremacist KEK flag on the Gauntlets. I don't think anyone at Bungie had any idea there were in the game either, it obviously slipped by and nobody knew it's significance. Let's be honest, most of us had never heard of KEK before today either. But whatever artist created these Guantlets will likely be fired, and deservedly so.

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#20 Posted by Buarpo (31 posts) -

This type of witch-hunt "reporting" is the thing that makes me lose respect for sites like Waypoint and games journalism in general. The article is so cock-sure that this was an intentional attempt at slipping in secret symbols that the author even goes so far as to contend that simply questioning intent is somehow a misguided position to take.

It reminds me of a story from last year where Zoey Quinn posted two images from some Paper Mario game that referenced "five fun guys" which she and others said was a not so subtle dig at her and the whole Gamer Gate thing. I remember that Patrick wrote out multiple stories for Kotaku about the issue (along with other journos) and the writing of those pieces featured very similar language about how the reference was too specific to be an accident. Long story short, it turned out that the two images were separated by minutes of prior dialogue meaning the reference wasn't even an accident, but entirely fabricated simply to arouse offence at the expense of common sense.

If they float they're a witch, if they drown they were innocent, but at least they drown at the altar of internet justice.

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#21 Posted by Efesell (3688 posts) -

The Waypoint headline was very attention grabbing in a kinda icky way but the article itself is fine?

Not sure I can buy this being unintentional. I don't mean Bungie as a whole being malicious but definitely some sneaky texture artist with some thoughts.

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#23 Edited by fatalbanana (967 posts) -

@buarpo said:

This type of witch-hunt "reporting" is the thing that makes me lose respect for sites like Waypoint and games journalism in general. The article is so cock-sure that this was an intentional attempt at slipping in secret symbols that the author even goes so far as to contend that simply questioning intent is somehow a misguided position to take.

It reminds me of a story from last year where Zoey Quinn posted two images from some Paper Mario game that referenced "five fun guys" which she and others said was a not so subtle dig at her and the whole Gamer Gate thing. I remember that Patrick wrote out multiple stories for Kotaku about the issue (along with other journos) and the writing of those pieces featured very similar language about how the reference was too specific to be an accident. Long story short, it turned out that the two images were separated by minutes of prior dialogue meaning the reference wasn't even an accident, but entirely fabricated simply to arouse offence at the expense of common sense.

If they float they're a witch, if they drown they were innocent, but at least they drown at the altar of internet justice.

How is this a witch hunt? The specific artist wasn't named nor did Rob at any point call for Bungie to be burned at the stake. I would be more sympathetic to your argument if I believed that this was done on accident. (see my post above) If it was just the symbol I would pretty easily write it off but when it comes down to the color scheme. That kind of pushes it over the edge for me.

Am I saying Bungie is a racist company and should be boycotted? No. Does it mean that the artist is/should? Also, no. It is more likely to me that a lone artist had a funny idea it slipped through the cracks and here we are. Not everyone who reacts is overreacting and there is a middle ground. That being said I think the importance of calling this out should be clear. Down playing things like this as an edgy internet joke is how these bastards recruit, not get taken seriously and are literally allowed to run amuck unchallenged and unchecked. People who literally call for the genocide of a race of humans by the way just in case you forgot.

@anund

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#24 Posted by TomyDingo (268 posts) -

@fatalbanana: not exact but close enough to be a dog whistle for hate groups to adopt and display as a “one of us” signifier.

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#25 Posted by Zirilius (1698 posts) -

@buarpo said:

This type of witch-hunt "reporting" is the thing that makes me lose respect for sites like Waypoint and games journalism in general. The article is so cock-sure that this was an intentional attempt at slipping in secret symbols that the author even goes so far as to contend that simply questioning intent is somehow a misguided position to take.

It reminds me of a story from last year where Zoey Quinn posted two images from some Paper Mario game that referenced "five fun guys" which she and others said was a not so subtle dig at her and the whole Gamer Gate thing. I remember that Patrick wrote out multiple stories for Kotaku about the issue (along with other journos) and the writing of those pieces featured very similar language about how the reference was too specific to be an accident. Long story short, it turned out that the two images were separated by minutes of prior dialogue meaning the reference wasn't even an accident, but entirely fabricated simply to arouse offence at the expense of common sense.

If they float they're a witch, if they drown they were innocent, but at least they drown at the altar of internet justice.

How is this a witch hunt? The specific artist wasn't named nor did Rob at any point call for Bungie to be burned at the stake. I would be more sympathetic to your argument if I believed that this was done on accident. (see my post above) If it was just the symbol I would pretty easily write it off but when it comes down to the color scheme. That kind of pushes it over the edge for me.

Am I saying Bungie is a racist company and should be boycotted? No. Does it mean that the artist is/should? Also, no. It is more likely to me that a lone artist had a funny idea it slipped through the cracks and here we are. Not everyone who reacts is overreacting and there is a middle ground. That being said I think the importance of calling this out should be clear. Down playing things like this as an edgy internet joke is how these bastards recruit, not get taken seriously and are literally allowed to run amuck unchallenged and unchecked. People who literally call for the genocide of a race of humans by the way just in case you forgot.

I'd also like to point out that in the article Rob writes

A reader sent us a link to the item on Bungie's website this morning, saying that they hadn't been able to get a response from the Destiny social accounts. We've reached out to Activision and Bungie for comment on what happened here, what the items removal process is, and what actions will be taken internally regarding this situation. If we receive comment, we will update this story.

Other channels were utilized before Waypoint got word of the issue. I think they are a perfect outlet as they actually have journalists with a pretty solid track record when it comes to reporting. Rob is also a person with good historical knowledge on this and helped to inform me of the iconography. I was unaware of it until today and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

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#26 Posted by fatalbanana (967 posts) -

@tomydingo: I would call it an exact dog whistle but yeah, totally.

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#27 Posted by Pezen (2299 posts) -

My gut instinct agree with the "looking for a nail because you have a hammer" in relation to that article, rather than someone implicitly looking to hide something malicious. The article is filled with assumptions, which to me feels a lot more troublesome than a texture that to some looks kind of like something else.

Someone once said something smart; just because nazis are the most famous fascists, doesn't mean the next time there's fascism afoot it's in the name of nazism.

In some way I would rather Bungie (if they felt so inclined) just changed it and patched it withot a big fuzz. Doing it publicly just draws so much attention to it and I don't see anyone benefiting from it.

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#28 Posted by Efesell (3688 posts) -

@anund said:

I am getting sooooo fucking tired of the constant moral outrage that is the internet. I really like Austin, but unfortunately Waypoint's SJW slant on everything is just... meh.

You really like Austin..just not quite enough to avoid shitting all over his whole outlook.

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#29 Posted by WhatsHisFace (744 posts) -

@fatalbanana: not exact but close enough to be a dog whistle for hate groups to adopt and display as a “one of us” signifier.

Right. I had this gauntlet equipped because it had the highest stats, ergo I'm racist.

Look, I'm not reading White Supremacy Weekly so I'm not up to date with hate groups like this one, but saying that this armor is a signifier is more than silly.

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#30 Edited by generalwalnut (75 posts) -

I'd like to know how many people who think that waypoint article is "overreacting" have demanded games keep politics out at some point prior. My guess is that venn diagram would look something like this "O"

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#31 Posted by kcin (962 posts) -

for good reference: this is what Kekistan is. (it's a white supremacist thing)

and here is the armor
and here is the armor
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced

If you want to say that you don't see the similarity, or that there's nothing here, and maybe you want to go another step further and say you're sick of this outrage, or these witch hunts,

just be honest and say you don't fuckin give a shit instead.

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#32 Posted by Efesell (3688 posts) -

@tomydingo said:

@fatalbanana: not exact but close enough to be a dog whistle for hate groups to adopt and display as a “one of us” signifier.

Right. I had this gauntlet equipped because it had the highest stats, ergo I'm racist.

Look, I'm not reading White Supremacy Weekly so I'm not up to date with hate groups like this one, but saying that this armor is a signifier is more than silly.

The symbolism can be very little else, this didn't just fall into the game out of the nothing and coincidentally be related to something very bad.

Like a person isn't a racist for being ignorant and wearing it because it has good stats or whatever but once the cats out of the bag the exact wrong decision to make is to stubbornly dig in heels.

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#33 Posted by ichthy (1327 posts) -

for good reference: this is what Kekistan is. (it's a white supremacist thing)

and here is the armor
and here is the armor
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced
And here's the KEK flag that's being referenced

As some seeing these two things for the first time...boy they sure look similar.

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#34 Edited by Buarpo (31 posts) -

@fatalbanana:

It's a figure of speech obviously it hasn't resulted in Bungie being burned at the stake, but it has forced them to pull the gauntlets and make a public apology (for something that they may be innocent of).

Is that some terrible penance? No, but it normalizes what I think is a very dangerous precedent of punishing or forcing people to apologize for things they aren't guilty of. From the article: "Which is a start, but 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."

In personal conversations I refer to this as our liberal Vietnam. In an effort to eradicate what we see as a threat to our way of life we fight our enemy tooth and nail with the moral authority granted us through past battles, except the difference now is that the enemy has changed tactics and no longer fights in uniform, but hides in the shadows among innocents. The problem? We haven't changed tactics in kind and use the same type of indiscriminate force that won us past wars which results in civilian casualties that not only put cracks in our moral authority, but builds resentment to the cause.

Down playing things like this as an edgy internet joke is how these bastards recruit

Yes it is, and another way they recruit is by taking situations like these where people over-react and using it to paint themselves as the victims.

People who literally call for the genocide of a race of humans by the way just in case you forgot.

Seriously? Spare me your "in case I forgot" bs

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#35 Posted by TheHT (15538 posts) -

@buarpo: I mean, sure, the absolute certainty people seem to have on some things borders on mania, but this thing looks so damn close to the "Kekistani" flag it's hard to imagine a designer innocently creating it in parallel. It's possible, but strenuously so. Like, to a silly degree.

Besides that possibility, whoever put it in was trollin at the very least.

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#36 Posted by Terin (20 posts) -

@tomydingo said:

@fatalbanana: not exact but close enough to be a dog whistle for hate groups to adopt and display as a “one of us” signifier.

Right. I had this gauntlet equipped because it had the highest stats, ergo I'm racist.

Look, I'm not reading White Supremacy Weekly so I'm not up to date with hate groups like this one, but saying that this armor is a signifier is more than silly.

That is not what a dog whistle means at all. You do not need to be so defensive, no one is saying "Anyone wearing this item is a racist!", but that whatever artist put it in was, possibly unintentionally but most likely intentionally, giving a tool for white supremacists to subtly rally behind. Removing that model was what needed to happen.

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#37 Edited by Buarpo (31 posts) -

@theht: this thing looks so damn close to the "Kekistani" flag it's hard to imagine a designer innocently creating it in parallel. It's possible, but strenuously so. Like, to a silly degree.

Sure if we can confirm that one person chooses every design aspect, but there's nothing to say one guy didn't make the I K E K I and another chose to make the thing green. Why choose four lines instead of three? Why the I in front of both K's. Was all of that in an attempt to hide their nefarious plotting, or does that just further the possibility this was done without any intent?

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#38 Edited by Efesell (3688 posts) -

@buarpo said:

@theht: this thing looks so damn close to the "Kekistani" flag it's hard to imagine a designer innocently creating it in parallel. It's possible, but strenuously so. Like, to a silly degree.

Sure if we can confirm that one person chooses every design aspect, but there's nothing to say one guy didn't make the I K E K I and another chose to make the thing green. Why choose four lines instead of three? Why the I in front of both K's. Was all of that in an attempt to hide their nefarious plotting, or does that just further the possibility this was done without any intent?

Clearly the code gained sentience and also unfortunately Deep Hatred.

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#39 Edited by WhatsHisFace (744 posts) -

@terin said:

That is not what a dog whistle means at all. You do not need to be so defensive, no one is saying "Anyone wearing this item is a racist!", but that whatever artist put it in was, possibly unintentionally but most likely intentionally, giving a tool for white supremacists to subtly rally behind. Removing that model was what needed to happen.

I wasn't saying it out of defensiveness, I just don't understand the logic behind that statement. How could anyone differentiate between a person who wears this gauntlet as a symbol and a person who just plays the game? How could this be used as a tool exactly?

@efesell said:

The symbolism can be very little else, this didn't just fall into the game out of the nothing and coincidentally be related to something very bad.

Like a person isn't a racist for being ignorant and wearing it because it has good stats or whatever but once the cats out of the bag the exact wrong decision to make is to stubbornly dig in heels.

Sure, after seeing the comparison images, the two are way too similar. What I'm trying to say is people give "Kekistan" more relevance than it deserves.

Am I ignorant for not knowing about this group? Apparently. But I never heard anyone even mention this group by name, not the news, not forum posts, no one. That's why I think it's safe to assume they were not as known as they are now. And, as it turns out, other than the artist(s) who made the item, nobody at Bungie knew about them either. That's the reason of this whole debacle.

The cat is out of the bag because Bungie let it out. They indirectly linked "Kekistan" and the item together with their public statements. Bungie should have just change or remove the item from the game and write about it in the patch notes saying "we thought it looked like a crappy motocross sleeve so we removed it" or something like that.

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#40 Posted by Buarpo (31 posts) -

@efesell: I'm confused. Are you insinuating I don't believe that the Kekistani flag is a hate symbol? Because that's not the case. While the history of it's creation is murkier than simply being an Alt-Right symbol from the get-go there's no question it's become co-opted and thus tainted. As such, I have no qualms about taking offence and action against the Kekistani flag, and no interest in defending it.

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#41 Posted by ThePhantomPear (51 posts) -

I really hope that it was some dumb employee google image searched KEK and got the racist meme and unbeknownst modeled it into gauntlets. Cause that is fucked up, risking your own job and the reputation of a whole company just to get a racist meme in it. The alternative is fucked up as well, it seems the design is ambigious enough to have actual people defending it as an innocuous meme.

But what do I know?

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#42 Posted by stordoff (1339 posts) -

Removing is absolutely the right call (both because racists will it as a signal, and because innocent users will wear it without knowing the connotations), but I also don't agree with how hard the Waypoint article ascribes malice where none has been shown.

its green coloration, and the shape of the KEK lettering are obvious signals. [...] we cannot continue to buy the innocent explanations for actions with a clear, violent intent.

There are completely plausible explanations for the design that don't involve a "clear, violent intent" - for instance, maybe a designer saw it out of context and didn't make the connection to Nazi Germany. I certainly didn't, even in the context on this thread, until I read the explanation. When I imagine Nazi symbology, I think of the national flag; I was unfamiliar with the war ensign on which the "Kekistan" image is based.

I'm also not sure how the shape of the KEK lettering is an "obvious signal" - they just look like generic Ks to me.

I think the bigger misstep might be the current error message for the item on Bungie's site:

CLASSIFIED Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Given the context, it's really hard to not read it as "Keep [your racist insignia] secret. Keep it safe[; you never know when you might need it]".

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#43 Posted by PeezMachine (430 posts) -

Good. The last thing I need in my life is more 4chan-bullshit-turned-white-supremacist-dogwhistle.

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#44 Edited by fatalbanana (967 posts) -

@buarpo: Look I don't want to argue semantics with you. I agree, overreacting hurts instead of helps sometimes. Yes, Rob implies what was done was done purposefully. Whether it was done purposefully to be malicious or purposefully as a joke I guess is left for interpretation. Sure he hints at it being malicious but that is far from an overreaction to me. Unless you want to point out exactly what you see as overreacting I don't know what the point of this argument is.

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#45 Posted by slyspider (1826 posts) -

Okay, I think this is stupid and waypoint article is just outrage for the sake of outrage, but honestly with some of the contemporary events going on I don't blame the devs for doing this. That waypoint article is a bit clickbait extreme, 'we are so angery look at what they did.' This is coming from someone who loves Austin and Patrick's stuff too. Shame but that's why I don't go to waypoint I guess.

Seriously waypoint article reads like some angry undergrad bullshit

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#46 Posted by BoFooQ (1067 posts) -

Looking at those picture I wonder if the greenish color looks similar? Is that just a shader or is it always greenish?

I would also think it would be easy for bungie to track down who draw the design.

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#47 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (7775 posts) -

I've literally never seen or heard anything of the "Kekistan Flag before". I always thought kek was just a reference to wow. Of course shitty people take something innocent and ruin it for everyone.

After seeing the comparison, it's hard to not see how remarkably similar they are. The only difference is the middle lines being 3 instead of 4. I mean, whoever designed that HAD to of known what it was right?

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#48 Posted by Veektarius (6342 posts) -

In general I'm pretty anti hypersensitivity and I didn't know the flag, but the combination of imagery here looks a lot less "innocent coincidence" and a lot more "attempt at plausible deniability" to me.

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#49 Posted by Mathematics (66 posts) -

Outrage for the sake of outrage. Waypoint is unreadable.

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#50 Posted by Aviont (76 posts) -

Wow, Waypoint points out that white supremacy symbolism in a video game is bad in a world where a girl was killed by white supremacists a month ago and that is faux outrage? People need to read some current events up in here! I am glad this was removed.

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