Juneteenth is an annual holiday in the United States in commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. In celebration, 343 Industries released a Halo Infinite skin that adorned the colors associated with the holiday: red, black, green, and yellow. However, the studio named the new cosmetic “Bonobo” which is a species of ape. Obviously, an emblem meant to honor the emancipation of African Americans being named after a monkey is offensive and, after a user pointed out the error, 343 Industries were quick to update the name to “Freedom”.
Founder of 343, Bonnie Ross, issued a statement regarding the issue saying: “We were made aware of a palette option for our Juneteenth emblem that contained a term that was offensive and hurtful. The team immediately addressed this issue via an update. We are a studio and franchise that is committed to inclusivity where everyone is welcome and supported to be their true self. On behalf of 343, I apologize for making a celebrated moment a hurtful moment.”
John Jynyszek, 343 Industries Senior Community Manager also addressed the issue on Twitter by saying, “We strive to create diverse and inclusive gaming communities. While the original name refers to an internal toolset, it was not intended to be applied to this content and we recognize the harm it may have caused.”
Some went on to explain that the name of the program, which is Bonobo, has been in use for some time. After inputting a name for the skin into the program, the program for whatever reason did not recognize it, and as a result gave the skin the default name of "Bonobo".
Still, many commenters still seemed skeptical as this was the first time the default name of the program was used in naming something in the game and the fact that this blunder happened in commemoration of Juneteenth of all holidays also left many with a raised brow.
About the Author
Aspen is an avid gamer and Twitch streamer currently residing in Japan. She is most attracted to games narrative design and is a huge fan of player choice in games. If Aspen is not playing games, she is most certainly writing about them.
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