Saturday, April 13, 2024

Blizzard removes Overwatch World Cup co-streamers for transphobic remarks

Over the weekend, Blizzard removed at least one Saudi Arabian co-streamer from all of its esports programs after they made derogatory comments about a transgender caster during the Overwatch World Cup EMEC online qualifier broadcast.

In a clip captured by Twitter user @Kapey774, at least two people can be heard making derogatory comments about transgender caster Cassi “CeeBee” Brown. These include calling her a “pig” and a “monkey.”

On the Overwatch Path to Pro account, Blizzard made a statement about the incident. Though the audio includes two people, and other outlets have identified them as Triple Esports’ Legendary and Onyx Ravens’ Alivelol, the company’s statement indicates it only removed one person.

“Over the weekend, an Overwatch World Cup co-streamer used derogatory language towards one of our casters in violation of our rules. We have removed this co-streamer from all official OW esports programs moving forward. We apologize to any community members who were hurt by the language used. We’ve reminded all participants of our code of conduct: ‘When participating in communication of any kind (chat, voice communication, group finder), you are responsible for how you express yourself. You may not use language that could be offensive or vulgar to others.'”

The company added further context in the thread:

“The Overwatch World Cup is designed for players from around the world, from different cultures, and from different backgrounds, to come together to compete and share their passion for our game. Participants in our competitions should be focused on bringing the world together through epic entertainment, celebrating our game, players, and fans, and building diverse and inclusive communities.”

This is a harsh blow to the Overwatch esports ecosystem’s inclusivity attempts, which have included a long-requested Pride event and the Calling All Heroes initiative. While many community members have applauded Blizzard for removing the offender, a transgender caster was still targeted in the moment, showing all the LGBTQ+ fans watching that there are still very hostile members of this community.

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty is a freelance games writer and esports expert.