Fortnite players recently rejected a recent discussion on ‘systemic racism,’ hosted in-game by CNN political commentator Van Jones.
Many players either largely ignored the event or took to actively throwing virtual tomatoes at the screens displaying the video.
On July 4th, better known as the American holiday of Independence Day, Jones hosted a digital edition of ‘We The People’ as part of “a series of conversations that advance the dialogue around race in America with prominent BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) voices in business, sports, media, music, and entertainment.”
The event was conceptualized by OPUS United, a self-described “multi-disciplined, high-performing collective of strategists, creatives, executives, athletes, and entertainers who know how to power world-class brands.”
They claim their focus is helping “white corporate America […] to take a stand against the racial injustice and anti- Black prejudice built into the very foundation of America.”
Jones was joined in this conversation by several other prominent black activists, including rapper Killer Mike, former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue Elain Welteroth, The Atlantic writer Jemele Hill, and hip-hop artist Lil Baby.
Yet, despite Epic Games and OPUS United’s intention to spark a discussion on race, the event was instead rejected almost wholesale by actual players in-game.
This was primarily documented with in-game screenshots, provided by attendees, showing that players took to pelting the screen with tomatoes during the discussion’s airing.
Twitter user MaximumFNBR wrote, “Bro they are actually throwing tomatos.”
Twitter user TheRealQuilt wrote, “Fornite held a Black Lives Matter Event ingame, and everyone was throwing tomatos at the screen.”
The event was hosted in the game’s ‘Party Royale’ mode, which removes the ability to build or eliminate other players, with the tomatoes being provided exclusively in this mode by in-game vending machines.
The special aired multiple times in-game, roughly “every other hour for 24 hours,” and has since been posted on YouTube.