Bungie recently announced via Twitter that they will be removing a gauntlet from the game as it “shares elements with a hate symbol.” It is believed that the Road Comples AA 1 Gauntlets are what will be removed, green in color and featuring the word “kek.”
Kek originates from the earliest days of World of Warcraft where Horde players would type out “lol” and Alliance players, who cannot understand the languages used by the Horde, would see it on their screen as “kek.” Since that time kek has been a longtime stand-in for some people to use instead of “lol.”
However, the recent political climate has brought certain memes to the forefront, surprisingly, the most infamous of course being Pepe the Frog. Groups, who some argue support hate groups or hate speech in some fashion, use Pepe and kek, which have now become associated with hate speech for some.
Specifically, some have a problem with the meme of “Kekistan.” Kekistan itself has existed for some time and is more or less a fictional country for “shitposters,” those who generally post a bunch of nonsense on the Internet, including trolling people. However, Kekistan received more popularity when YouTuber Sargon of Akkad tweeted about it. Sargon, someone who speaks a lot about politics and defends groups now associated with hate speech due to the use of these memes, is probably a big reason Kekistan has been politicized. Another reason is that the Kekistan flag has appeared at various alt-right rallies by various people.
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons made a statement as well:
At Bungie, our company values place the highest emphasis on inclusion of all people and respect for all who work with us or play our games. https://t.co/lox0XuYhgJ
— pete parsons (@pparsons) September 12, 2017
We have reached out to Bungie and Activision for comment and clarification.
Bungie has revealed that the design of the gauntlet is no longer visible in the shared game world, although it is visible in icons and inspections. That will apparently be changed in a hot fix next week. It is still believed at this time that the situation is referring to the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets, although Bungie and Activision have yet to respond to requests for clarification.
This imagery has been removed from the shared game world. It will be removed from inspections and icons in a HotFix planned for next week. https://t.co/Mom6ZGiSMa
— Bungie (@Bungie) September 12, 2017
The argument here is more or less the same as it was with Pepe. It’s a meme long-used that has been politicized because a particular group likes the memery. That, in turn, made the actual terrible people cling to the image/message/etc to defend it, actually making it a political something or other. That seems to be what’s happening here.
Obviously, I may be a little biased in that our satire series is called KekRaptor, an obvious play on “lol” using “kek” that sounds similar to TechRaptor. We don’t spout hate or associate ourselves with any symbolism in any form.