Kotaku UK has been accused of racism after publishing an article accusing Nintendo, Super Smash Bros., and Persona 5 of insulting disabled people.

Kotaku UK published an article by Laura Kate Dale on April 18th claiming that Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Persona 5 DLC includes a disability slur.”

Dale noted in her article that she believes she heard the word “retarded” on the record ‘Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There.’ The song is part of the Persona 5 sound track and was included on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC which allows Joker, the main protagonist in Persona 5, to be a playable character.

The song is actually the main theme for Persona 5, which released back on September 15, 2016.

Dale would then write, “this does not exactly fit Nintendo’s family friendly image, nor seem an especially appropriate inclusion in a game with a 12 rating (or indeed in any game).”

Many took offense to the article.

A number of people pointed out that Kotaku UK might actually be engaging in racism since the song was composed by Lyn Inaizumi, a native Japanese speaker.

As anyone who listens to music sung by Japanese, Korean, or any other Asian artists know, it can be common for certain sounds to be pronounced incorrectly when they sing lyrics in English. In this case, what Dale thought was “retarded” was in fact “retort it.”

After being accused of racism, Dale would indicate that she had been prevented from commenting on the article on Twitter. She also noted that her article had been altered without her permission by her editor. She indicates this editing removed her doubt about the claims that the song included the word “retarded.”

Niche Gamer contributor Sophia Narwitz posted screencaps of Dale from a Facebook group where she stated, she was “banned from publicly reaponding.”

Dale also explains that her “boss took out all the ‘seems to be statements’ and set it live prior to me hearing back from my comment requests.” Dale notes she “wanted to wait.”

She goes on to note that her boss sent her an email saying that she was making her look bad and was ordered to “delete my tweets and not defend myself any further.” She concludes, “The boss ignored my warning, made it definitive, won’t let me walk it back or say anything, and in just stuck taking the blame for things I’m not allowed to correct, in an article my boss altered, pushed out, and doesn’t have to take any flack for.”

Here’s a better look at the screencaps.

She would also admit on Twitter to having to delete her Tweets.

Kotaku UK editor Rich Stanton would pen an article indicating the website had “screwed up with that Persona lyric.”

Stanton does indicate they received word back from Atlus who confirmed that the lyrics do not include the word “retarded.”

Despite the headline and Atlus’ confirmation, Stanton doubles down on the original article arguing, “this does not clear up the confusion over what the singer is actually saying.”

However, he does apologize, “It looks like we got it wrong. We screwed up: sorry.” He concludes, “We hold our hands up with this one: you deserve better, and we’ll strive to do better.”

Despite the apology, Stanton did continue the idea of the original article that the lyric is somehow offensive despite the word “retarded” not being in the song, and it sparked a new wave of criticism from a number of fans.

Liana Kerzner took the publication to task stating, “This is disgusting, shows a complete lack of concern for Kotaku’s staff, and is not at all ethical.”

What do you make of Kotaku UK’s original article? Do you think it was racist? Do you think their apology was appropriate or do you agree with Liana Kerzner that it was disgusting? Do you believe Laura Kate Dale’s story? Let me know your thoughts!

  • About The Author

    Jorge Arenas
    Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

    If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool.