Ubisoft has removed a ‘black power’ symbol from Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, the franchise’s latest addition to the mobile game market, after taking heat and being accused of casting Black Lives Matters protestors as villains within the game.
This accusation is based on the use of the ‘Black Power Fist’ imagery by the faceless terrorist organization known UMBRA, who use the symbol to “promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support; while behind the scenes, UMBRA organizes deadly terrorist attacks to generate even more chaos and weaken governments at the cost of many innocent lives.”
The fictional appropriation of the symbol, a long-used protest symbol which has since been repurposed by the Black Lives Matter movement, by the game’s antagonists sparked a wave of backlash across social media.
Senior Forbes Contributor Dave Thier published an article that claimed Ubisoft “has long had trouble separating militaristic messages from games that it claims to be free of politics.”
Breden Gibbons, a content writer for Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, even claimed that Ubisoft lied to them about how Umbra was going to be portrayed, as Gibbons claims that UMBRA was supposed to be more like a “James Bond villain organisation” instead of “something looks like what the q conspiracy people think is happening”.
Carnegie Mellon University Professor Paolo Pedernici commented, “Tom Clancy’s games have always been a bit fash(Facisttic) but this new one is casting BLM as the bad guys, and you have to fight them with a death squad made of special forces and criminals? Timely…”
Another user, @Gravitate_Left, declared that “the people who write Tom Clancy’s games can’t wait to murder BLM and Umbra” and that the trailed looked “like FOX and the NRA channel!”:
On Reddit, the symbol’s appearance would be defended by the Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad Community Manager, who stated that “This logo was chosen because it is a universal symbol of resistance – any resemblance to images associated with the Black Lives Matter movement is coincidental.”:
In a rebuke of this defense, former Nerdist writer Malik Forte took issue with the Community Manager’s “defending the BLM-like imagery & framing from that trailer”, and claimed that the fist’s inclusion “isn’t ‘coincidental’, it’s blatant ignorance and tone-deafness.”:
As backlash mounted against the publisher, Ubisoft would eventually issue an apology for the “imagery that appeared in the opening video sequence of Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad featuring a ‘raised fist'” and state that it “was insensitive and harmful in both its inclusion and how it was portrayed.”
According to the statement, Ubisoft has “listened to an appreciate the players and broader community who have point it out” and noted that “this ‘raised fist’ imagery will be removed in the next title update”.
What do you think of this entire controversy surrounding the use of the raised fist symbol? Was Ubisoft purposefully targeting BLM, or was this a non-issue created by Twitter mobs? Let us know on social media or in the comments down below!