Cryptic Studios has issued an apology and removed an audio clip of the song ‘Dixie’ from Star Trek Online due to fan outrage regarding the real world origins of the song.
Earlier this week, Arc Games, a subsidiary of the game’s publisher, Perfect World Co. Ltd., announced that the 2019 entry of the annual Lohlunat Festival event would be taking place from July 2nd to August 15th. In addition to the date announcement, Arc Games also detailed event exclusive items players could obtain, such as baseball uniform costumes, team-themed Vanity Shields, and audio emotes which change the horn sound effects of a player’s Starship.
However, some players took issue with one particular audio emote which featured the first twelve notes of the songDixie, as the song’s origins are found in the minstrel shows of the early 19th century and the song was later adopted as an anthem for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The emote was intended to be an homage to the iconic horn of the General Lee, the 1969 Dodge Charger which played a prominent role in the television show The Dukes of Hazzard.
“For a franchise built around an ethos of tolerance and diversity, Dixie is a truly horrendous choice.<
Seriously Cryptic, is there really no awareness of how that song is inextricably linked to the mythos of the “Lost Cause”? Do you even know what “Lost Cause” means? Or how that song encapsualtes the whitewashing of Neo-Confederates and, more broadly, white supremacy?
I could write about my experiences as a person of color growing up in the rural South, more specifically near Charlottesville, Va. (Guess what, Dixie doesn’t sound playful or benign to me).
I could write about subtle and overt (including threats of violence and slurs) racism and intolerance. Or how Star Trek was a powerful and countervailing message to hate and intolerance that I really needed to hear, especially growing up.
I could write about the romanticization of the “Old South” and the place “Dixie” holds as an anthem for that, that cute and playful face of genocide and enslavement yay!
But if I did, Cryptic, it would just point out that you need some diversity in the conference room and in your culture.
Not among the devs, some of whom I’m convinced actually love Star Trek and it’s ideals and it’s hope and promise; but among the corporate higher ups who are making decisions re: overall direction of STO.
To them, my question is this: do you really undertand your IP?
And if so and given that you have a grasp on your metrics, do you think much of your playerbase wants to hear “Dixie” blaring from every two-bit knob and (especially) trolls?
And do you seriously not understand how easily this will be used to troll. Really? In 2020? This audio emote and ship names are practically begging for trolls to flock to STO and antagonize a large % of your demographic.
Or do you not care?
And if so, do the ideals of Star Trek really mean so little to you?
Are you really the right (or Alt-Right) people to take this IP and the ideals it represents forward?”
As more players joined Vesta3312’s cry of outrage and complaints reached the ears of Perfect World and Cryptic Studios, the official Star Trek Online Twitter account issued a statement apologizing for the inclusion of the song as an emote and confirming that the emote would be removed from the game:
We are deeply sorry for any hurt we may have caused. pic.twitter.com/hhC1r0CC7F
— Star Trek Online (@trekonlinegame) June 25, 2019
Following this statement, the Dixie emote was also removed from the Lohlunat Festival announcement post.