In an editorial, Kotaku has accused Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War of promoting a “far-right conspiracy theory”. This is due to the inclusion of interview footage with former-KGB agent Yuri Brezmenov in the game’s launch trailer.
In an August 27th editorial titled “Call Of Duty Trailer Recklessly Promotes Far-Right Conspiracy Theory”, Kotaku writer Ian Walker took issue with the trailer’s inclusion of “Yuri Bezmenov and his views”.
According to him, it was due to the interview having allegedly “become a dangerous rallying cry for far-right conspiracy theories and the people who peddle them”.
Walker claims that Bezmenov’s interview suggests “that extending equality to the United States’ non-white, non-male population made it ripe for Soviet invasion.”
It should be noted that Bezmenov does not speak on his personal “views” in the interview, but rather details actual Soviet destabilization strategies he had been trained in during his time with the KGB.
There is also no discussion of identity politics, much less a call to arms against America’s “non-white, non-male population” during the interview.
Walker then criticizes the interview’s inclusion due to it being conducted by G. Edward Griffin. Griffin is an author, and activist who believes in and promotes various conspiracy theories, such as those surrounding HIV/AIDs denialism, the 9/11 truth movement, and chemtrails.
Though Walker paints Griffin as “alt-right”, this image is based on a one-sided accusation made against Griffin by activists due to his hosting of a politically non-denominational “Red-Pill Expo” in 2017.
However, Griffin’s fringe and questionable beliefs do not invalidate Bezmenov’s information.
As Walker continues, it becomes clear that his issue is not so much with anything actually present in the trailer, but with his belief that the interview’s inclusion would function “as a sort of dog whistle to legions of reactionaries who consider attempts at establishing social equity to be proof of a far-right conspiracy theory known as “Cultural Marxism.”
“While never invoking Cultural Marxism by name, Bezmenov’s warnings ran parallel to its core tenets,” admitted Walker.
Cultural Marxism is the theoretical strategy of causing instability in an institution or culture, through battles over social, political, and economic issues, in an attempt to install oppressive far-left leaders and societies.
Far- and Radical- left activists have regularly dismissed this concept as an “alt-right” sentiment.
The article then deviates greatly from its discussion of the Call of Duty trailer, as Walker proceeds to author an extensive, guilt-by-association defense against the existence of “cultural Marxism” by drawing conclusions between it and various buzzword boogeymen such as Nazi Germany and GamerGate.
Walker also points to the positive opinion of the interview’s inclusion held by controversial YouTuber and former-UKIP candidate Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin as evidence of conspiracy theory promotion.
This is despite him being completely unrelated to Call of Duty, the Cold War, or the trailer, outside of voicing his own opinions on the game on his YouTube channel.
Ultimately, Walker seems to believe that players are too immature and irresponsible to distinguish between fiction and reality.
He also asserts that “it’s irresponsible for the developers to disseminate his ideas without context” and takes a swing at Call of Duty players by describing how the game “is already popular impressionable adolescents and disaffected men with far-right tendencies.”
Walker further infantilizes audiences by concluding that, with Bezmenov’s inclusion, “Activision has given its fans a direct path to his philosophy while also leaving out crucial contextual details that explain its origins and the dangerous effects it has already had on the modern world.”
What’s your take on this editorial from Kotaku?
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set to drop on November 13th, 2020.