Hindu Leader Wants Blizzard To Drop Symmetra's Devi Skin From Overwatch

Religious statesman and president of the Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed released a statement today, urging Blizzard and Activision to remove an Overwatch skin he said "trivialised Hinduism's highly revered goddesses".

Devi is the great goddess of Hinduism, worshipped in many different form and names since prehistoric times. While Symmetra's Devi skin (and its recoloured counterpart, Goddess) doesn't seem to represent any one particular aspect of the goddess, it incorporates many aspects of their traditional depiction, notably Kali's skull decoration and the blue skin associated in the faith with all things infinite.

According to Rajan Zed, it's close enough to be inappropriate and confusing. From his statement:

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged Irvine (California) headquartered Blizzard Entertainment CEO Michael Morhaime and its parent Santa Monica (California) based Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick to withdraw the Devi skin in the video game, as it trivialised Hinduism's highly revered goddesses.   Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in a video game set-up, the player controlled the movements of Devi, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their goddesses.   Moreover, Devi and its movements depicted in Overwatch did not match with characterisation of the goddesses in the scriptures, Rajan Zed noted.

In his statement Zed called upon Blizzard to act on its own core values.

Zed stated that Blizzard Entertainment needed to follow its own "core values" which included "lead responsibly" (As one of the world's leading game companies, we're committed to making ethical decisions), as in this case it was creating confusion in the minds of community about Devi by misrepresentation.

Rajan Zed has championed the Hindu faith's depiction in video games on a previous occasion, asking developer Hi-Rez Studios to remove Hindu deities from its multiplayer online battle arena game, Smite. That game now boasts seven characters from the pantheon.

Rajan Zed indicated that reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda was not ok as it created confusion. Controlling and manipulating Devi with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Devi was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be reduced to just a "character" in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground.

Blizzard has yet to comment Zed's statement.


Comments

    I'm sure it's a frequent occurrence when her worshippers accidentally worship a videogame skin instead of the multi-armed goddess. So confusing.

    Last edited 17/07/16 10:46 am

      not the worshippers. its for the kids and culture

    If we go by how Blizzard handled the Tracer's butt pose thing, we'll have several more "Goddess" type skins released for other characters and this "offensive" skin will become free to all players.

      Uh, that isn't what happened. They changed tracers pose and the other characters were already in game. The complaint was that it wasn't in tracers character.

      er that is not what happened, just the (seemingly) illiterate online sheeple, ones who read one line and then lalalalala ignoring everything that followed.

    I think its more the fact that it's often seen as disrespectful or perverting their religious symbol. It's just the values and meaning certain communities place on symbols.

    As an agnostic, I don't care muchfor religious symbols, but I can understand where he's coming from. If something I an icon I value deeply is being trivialised (maybe a family crest or something...), I'd probably unhappy about it too.

      Agreed. I can sympathise with his upset. But doubt Blizzard will make any attempt to change anything.

      "as an agnostic..." that's not really saying much. Most people on Earth are agnostic, even theists.

      You could see it as a positive, that the character is representing facets of your religion/culture.

        .........in a virtual gladiators area.

        I Jest, I know what you mean.

        Last edited 18/07/16 10:41 pm

      A Hindu friend of mine described the problem as being less about the specific depiction of Devi and more the sense that Blizzard's starting point in designing this was Temple of Doom.

    Of course, Blizzard wouldn't put an alternate JESUS skin in the game now, would they?

    Because that's serious business, not some brown people religion.

      Isn't Mercy an angel? If Blizzard put the false prophet muhammad in, wow that would cause some outrage.

      EVERYBODIES WAAAAASCIST....

      But if it was JESUS skin you'd be the first in line telling the complainant to "just deal with it".

      Give the skin to soldier 76 and one of his emotes can be him riding a raptor.

        Nah, give it to Lucio.

        If you're trying to piss people off, might as well go all out and target the racists too.

        Rollerblading Black Jesus would be pretty awesome though.

        Last edited 17/07/16 1:28 pm

          Now I've read this I'll be disappointed if they don't.

          I thought Lucio WAS wearing a Jesus skin. Jesus was black and had dreads after all. I hear he was a sick DJ as well!

      Mercy has a Norse-Valkyrie skin which were battlefield maidens "demi-gods" (sort of) to Norse mythology/theology and many people still worship it... So your point is rather moot.

      Mercy has angel and devil skins. Don't be a crybully.

      Last edited 17/07/16 8:20 pm

      Out of all religious symbols or icons, Jesus is probably the one that gets 'mocked' or 'parodied' the most (what ever word you want to use).

      What about satan and angels? They're from abrahimic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism). Mercy represents an angel, and has a satanic skin as well. I don't see anyone giving a shit. Why is it okay to include those religious symbols, and not others..

      I think all this is highly relevant to the South Park episode (cartoon wars) when they wanted to show the prophet muhummad, and everyone was up in arms about it. And yet, South Park consistently and blatantly mocks christianity and jesus.

        Angels and Devils are complicated. The classical "shiny winged person" and "horny red person" images are the product of centuries worth of inter-mingling myths and legends, they're not universally accepted fundamental elements of the Christian faith. You're not going to be offending very many people by including that sort of imagery in your work.

        I think Christianity can be mocked because it's "ours". It's largely divorced of race and culture issues so you can't really be accused of being racist or xenophobic by calling it out. We live with it, we grow up with it, we choose whether or not we're labelled a Christian. Even if you're not a Christian yourself you're essentially critiquing your own culture when you send it up.

        If you were wearing a Jesus skin in the game, then the opposing team's goal would be to repeatedly kill Jesus.

        Someone would probably end up uploading a video where everyone on the opposing team was dressed as Jesus and he spends the entire match killing them. Then you'd probably get a similar request from Christian groups.

          Sure, but they'd just all end up respawning in 3 days anyway.

      Weeell, I don't think gaming companies should worry what or who they choose to depict as playable characters. Muhammad, Jesus, Kali or any of the 40000 hindi gods and goddesses.

      Indian religion is usually pretty chill about the whole thing. I don't get why this spokes person has chosen to get so worked up about it, it seems almost "unhinduistic" if that was a word. Such petty squabbles are not worth the strain on your brain. But yeah, Angels and demons and other miscellaneous creatures/species are well within the realm of uncertainty because they're not only present in the Bible or the Koran. Thus making them merely mythological creatures with no definite origin and no specific group of people you can offend.

      I still think it's silly. Besides, this is 2016. Are people really that religious still? Don't they know be now that magic and gods are just imagination? And it's not very creative because every culture has the same basic principles. Blizzard shouldn't even bother replying.

    Are you being sarcastic? I can't tell.

    As a Hindu,
    I want this to stay in.

    Pretty silly, Devi and all religious icons have been in games/tv/movies at some point, you have the right to revere whoever/ whatever you like and we have the right to be satirical about whoever/whatever we like.

      It's not so much satire (or not at all satire, as the case may be) as cultural appropriation.

        If one truly believes their gods or goddesses to exist, then that person would have to be unbelievably arrogant to claim ownership of a GOD under the guise of 'cultural appropriation'.

        I'd actually say that person is actually far worse than anyone who might engage in some satire with no intent to offend.

        It's not so much cultural appropriation (nice SJW terminology btw), but more like representation of culture within a game, which is played by people of many different races and religions. Overwatch has a very diverse range of characters. At least Sym is a hero and not a criminal like the only New Zealand and Australian characters, lol.

        I just love the comment about cultural appropriation though. So you're saying blizzard (Which im sure has people of different religion and colour), should only make games involving white people in white society? HA! Funiest thing i've heard today.

        Last edited 17/07/16 8:22 pm

          Fair points made. Cultural appropriation is a term with a more negative connotation than I was really intending.

          Whatever the case, it's definitely not satire in any shape or form though.

          Last edited 17/07/16 11:47 pm

      Can you show me where in our laws we have those rights?

        Wouldn't we have to have laws that say we don't have those rights? I was of the understanding that we generally have an exclusionary system, rather than inclusionary.

          We do. On our charter of human rights.
          One of the points is "to respect the rights and reputations of other people"
          Mocking someone's religion is not respecting their reputation. Plus then there are also anti defamation laws etc etc.
          I'm still looking for where it is written we have the right to "be satirical to whoever you want" is in our laws.

            But if you're mocking someones reputation in this example Devi wouldn't they have to bring the charges forward. You can't sue someone on someone else behalf unless you have given them power of attorney I'd imagine. So considering Devi is a fictional character there is no bodies reputation being harmed. I only know of the Pope who is appointed and the voice of god on Earth even then I'm not 100% sure.

              You're starting to confuse me here with charge and Sue in the same response. Even though they are 2 different things.
              Secondly you don't have to be a person as such. Many companies have brought action forward based on defaming brand or institution reputation.

                A company is it's own legal entity in the eyes of the law and the CEO, Board, or Owner acts on their behalf which is why that works. But we're talking about a fictional character here.

            Religious satire laws actually vary country to country but Blizzard is an American country with freedom of speech enjoying pre-eminence which allows politcal and religious satire. Unlike a country like Israel which bases freedom of speech on personal dignity. My original comment is over simplified but yeah

              True that. In the US yeah you can pretty much sat what you want.

                its actually interesting now ive looked into it, some states in australia actually still have blasphemy laws, which although havnt put someone on trial since the 30s are still there, although they only cover the church of england as australia doesnt have its own religion, although we align to Christianity. The most relevant laws current would be no religious vilification or inciting hate (subject to state) satire is safe from this in most cases unless it was hate covered by satire or is directed at a specific person.

                Last edited 17/07/16 8:15 pm

                  It's not blasphemy law, it's called Vilification. It involves the vilification of a person(s). This isn't what would fall under it. It's usually things like telling someone to kill all people of another race or religion etc. Just putting a video game character with some cultural/religion symbol in a game, is not vilification. Sym is also a hero in the game, not a villian.

                  sorry i cant reply to you riavan but yes religious vilification is inciting hatred. If you read the whole thread we were talking about religious satire and legalitys, if anything a skin on a character would fall under blasphemy law more then any other because it is both insulting and showing a lack of respect to a diety but like i said the law hasnt been enforced sonce the 30s and only covers the church of england in australia

                  Can I have a link to the legislation with this blasphemy law? (I'm a lawyer and would like to see it).

                  again cant reply to you for some reason riavian.
                  crimes act. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s469aa.html
                  an article http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/4766/what-is-blasphemy-and-is-it-an-offence-in-australi.aspx
                  its a common law offence and varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction, like i said its not used but it is there in some places

      er no, GOOD companies and artists know enough about life and the importance of peoples faith to be respectful when appropriating things. Sure anyone CAN do anything they like, whether they should do another is a matter, its a question of wisdom and maturity.

      A little respect goes a wrong way. That said exact faith is such an individual thing, no matter what people choose to do their will always be some offended.

        Well, I mean I feel the same people would complain about diversity if she wasn't in the game, that would complain about cultural appropriation now. You can't win against crybullies.

    Overly sensitive bollocks.

      or a proud person of faith saying how they find some form of religious depiction counter to what their faith dictates. A little respect goes a long way.

        No. The "have some respect" argument is quite underhanded when the discussion is about wanting someone to bend to the will of others and do what they ask.

        It is basically "If you don't change this, you have no respect.", which is intentionally designed to put people on the defensive to prove otherwise; With the only way to prove that being to do what they want or else. It's a very dirty argument.

    Will be interesting to see how Blizzard decide to handle this. They've been pretty averse to controversy with the sexualisation stuff. I wouldn't be at all surprised if these skins disappeared from the game in the near future.

      Tracer's 'butt pose' was arguably changed to something just as 'bad', and was seen largely as a subtle middle finger from Blizzard to anyone who was complaining about it.

      These skins aren't going anywhere.

        Was it? If you want all sexualization removed in games or life, you're in for a bad time.

          I suspect you think I'm complaining here... I'm not.

          I never cared about the Tracer pose in the first place, I was only stating what a lot of people saw the change as being. The whole thing was ridiculous.

          These days I truly believe a lot of people actively go out of their way to find things just so they can act like they were offended. Be it for attention, to punish someone they dislike, whatever.

    I demand Zenyatta's skin removal too.
    Reimagining Egyptian scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda is not ok as it creates confusion. Controlling and manipulating Ra with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse is denigration. Ra is meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground.

      Also Roadhog has a maori skin! Why can't every game just use entirely white culture, WAAH WAAH WAAH. (Then SJW's will probably complain the game isn't representing enough other cultures - nobody can win the crybully war).

      Yes, we've also got to remove:

      Mei's firefighter skin - disrespects the heroes of 9/11;
      Soldier 76's special ops skins - disrespects war veterans;
      Soldier 76's stunt rider skins - disrespects Evil Kenevil;
      Roadhog's islander skins - cultural appropriation;
      Roadhog's shark skins - cruelty to animals;
      Mercy's angel skin - disrespects christianity;
      Mercy's devil/imp skin - satanic!
      Zenyatta's Ra skins - disrespects ancient Egyptian pantheistic religion;
      Hanzo's wolf skins - cruelty to animals;
      Widowmaker's countess/huntress skins - disrespects French Revolution;
      Reinhardt's Bundeswehr skin - disrespects members of the German armed forces;
      Torbjorn's pirate skins - disrespects amputees (and pirates);
      Torbjorn's biker skins - cultural appropriation;
      Reaper's mariachi skins - cultural appropriation;
      Reaper's plague doctor skin - disrespects historical medical figures;
      Pharah's totem skins - cultural appropriation;
      Pharah's mecha skin - cultural appropriation;
      ...
      The list goes on!

        why firefighter or soldiers skin would offended them they are not gods and they do not belong just one PARTICULAR community or country ,

        or u think firefighter died at 9/11 are the only heros and other firefighter through out the world are not they do not save people ,

        pharaoh or ra skin , why would it offended anyone becos nobody follows ancient egyptian religion anymore ,
        egypt was taken over by islam an abrahmic religion and islam or muslims or egyptian muslims do not recognized any other religion ,

        pirates getting offended hahaha pirate are not good people to get offended and who should give shit if they are offended ,

        evil kenevil is just one person but here about billion people are offended ,

        war veterans is not disrespecting any particular war veterans ,

        wolf and sharks getting offended hahahahahaha btw offence is an human concept animals dont understand it and animal cruelty is when an actual or real animal is getting tortured or harassed or killed ,

        and how imaginary characters gonna get offended ,
        now if u say devi is an also imaginary character of hinduism then its imagined to be respected and honoured as a goddess and not for entertainment purposes ,

        other imaginary characters are created for entertainment purposes ,

        u americans think that u great thinkers defenders of free speech but u are talking nonsense .

    People that are offended by things really offend me... Wait what?

    and im offended about how the TV promotes blacklives matter, racism, guns, money, work ethics, politics.... and puts down other groups just because they are different like cigarette smokers

    especially giving every bad thing "an act of terrorism against the establishment"

    omg its ISIS

    too offended for one post m8

    its not going to change ( make sure you buy your home and be in a million dollars debt and work as a slave for 60 years)

    stop braudcasting/promoting evil

    Last edited 17/07/16 2:35 pm

    Ban religion in public. You can worship which ever religious figure you want just keep it out of public space.

      This!
      Actually just ban religion in general and watch how war suddenly disappears and people become cosmically aware of their part in the greater universe and not a slave to dogma someone wrote thousands of years ago.

      Religion in general is the biggest cause of war, greed and hatred. Just ban it.

        riggghhhht... we should totally ban money too!! because money in general is the biggest cause of war, greed and hatred. Just ban it.

        Faith and belief (ps. the thing you actually have) in anything is good and connects people to the greater universe, anything other than that such as war, greed and hatred is against most religious beliefs despite how people twist it.

        You should watch the southpark episode dumb dumb.

          I'd actually totally be in for banning money.
          I'd gladly ban money and religion since why the hell do we need it?
          IF you want food, just keep working and you will be given food.
          You want shelter? You build it or work to get one.
          You want clothing? Work for it and help out those who can make them.

          Don't become a greedy twat.

          Second, ban religion from PUBLIC placed and ban promoting it or trying to spread it.
          If someone wants to join a religion they can.
          If they want info, it's okay to read the history of the religion long as it doesnt promote it as the one and only.

          Third, if you cant ban religion, ban atleast the parts in religions that tell you to slaughter, stone, beat up etc etc harm others or disrespect other religions or promote your own religion as the one and only and especially ban the parts in religion where you have to degrade another gender, person, animal etc.

        Since telling people what they should or shouldn't believe in is such a tried and true way of preventing wars, greed and hatred and not being the very thing that causes them... Religion is a common catalyst for conflict because it is something that many people have intense emotions about, including atheists. Money is another thing as is land.

        The only way you can stop all conflict is to remove all desire and individuality from people. Once people stop desiring something another has, or believing that others should follow their way of thinking then there will be no reason for one person to be in conflict with another.

        Last edited 17/07/16 7:54 pm

        Wrong.

        War is caused by the human ego. It manifests itself in false idelogies (religious, political, racial and social), greed, pride, and a lust for power.

        To blame religion alone is naive.

        Last edited 17/07/16 9:15 pm

          But I mean, there are a lot that are very religious based.
          Like for sure, its not the only reason and a lot of it is someone using it for their gain, but still.

          Last edited 17/07/16 9:45 pm

            You're right! When was the last time there was an atheist genocide...

            ... except for that time Stalin massacred the clergy in Russia. Or that whole Falun Gong thing in China, let's just overlook that.

            ... and don't even mention the Holocaust, please.

            Last edited 18/07/16 9:22 am

              Well that's just a non religious genocide. I'm not blaming religion for all wars, just saying it's a big part of some of the biggest and longest ones.

                Well, @masterc82 put it more eloquently than I ever could. People will find a reason to fight each other. Yes, religion is one of those reasons, but so is class, so is race, so is nationality, so is sexuality, or literally anything else that makes one set of people different from another.

                It's a part of the human condition, and singling out religion as any more or less of a cause of conflict is absurd.

                Anyways, my reply is mostly aimed at @dx101, you just seemed to be agreeing with him

                  Because the longest and worst wars were religiously motivated to some degree. Nothing spurs your lower economic populace into action faster.

                  Just ban everything. everything can invite a normally rational person to do irrational things. Religion just seems to be used as a common excuse for horrific things in this world. You will find rational people given no excuse will tend to err on he side of caution because their actions fall upon themselves not thier all knowing religion. And people generally don't want to appear radical.

                  Religion can both join a culture but it is also super effective at promoting a sense of xenophobia against other religions. And as long as people spill blood in the name of thier god(s) we will never evolve as a species.

                  I also get that greed and desire are reasons for war and segregation. But look at how the people of this one planet have committed stupid shit in the name of religion.

                  And I am not stating that I have no beliefs or am atheist or anything like that I just think when people stop looking at their differences and work on their similarities we can extend past the stigma of religion and evolve a universal sense purpose.

                  You know what believe in life. Believe in this world believe in people. Believe in what binds us together instead of what separates us.

                  /end rant

                  @dx101

                  But look at how the people of this one planet have committed stupid shit in the name of religion.

                  Oh, no doubt. But religion is just one of many reasons people do shitty things to other people. If I can't hate you for your god, I'll hate you for the colour of your skin, or the country you are from, or who you choose to love, or simply because you have more than I do.

                  Actually just ban religion in general and watch how war suddenly disappears and people become cosmically aware of their part in the greater universe and not a slave to dogma someone wrote thousands of years ago.

                  Like I've been saying, no. There are many, many reasons people hate others. Religion might seem like a prominent one, but hateful people will find a reason to keep on hating.

              Stalin was Russian orthodox, he killed the clergy to consolidate power.

              Hitler was a CATHOLIC. Cant say I know much on the topic of Chinas religious/political history but my argument remains.

              There has literally never being a genocide where someone said after they did it " I did this for the name of no god"

              Sick of having this same argument. Atheism is not a religion nor is science. If a genocide doesn't have a religious context doesn't make it have anything to do atheism. Yes an atheist can commit a genocide but they won't be doing it for that reason.

    Don't Square Enix do the exact same thing? Shiva, Ifrit, Gilgamesh, Odin, Bahamut, Leviathan etc all continually appear throughout the series.
    Rather than be offensive can't it be an opportunity to educate people on differing faiths/cultures?

    It's funny how the same people who say 'THESE PEOPLE NEED TO GET OVER THEIR SILLY RELIGION ANYONE CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT' are the same people who lost.their.shiat over the Ghostbusters reboot.

    'OMG I AM A MIDDLE AGED WHITE MALE AND THIS IS RAEPING MY CHILDHOOD HOW DARE YOU FEMINAZIS'

    ...plus a few million other rageouts at anything even slightly interfering with their pet cultural icons.

    It's almost as if people are pretty much all the same and nerds and neckbeardy internet atheists aren't the bastion of reason and tolerance they regularly claim to be.

      Are they? Or are you just projecting again?

      I think you're projecting again.

      Remember above where you called Jesus a white mans god when the religion formed in the Middle East and is the primary religion of many South Americans or as you like to call them "brown people" not to mention all the middle eastern followers?

      Why are you so racist?

      I give your rant 2 out 76 racists.

      http://new1.fjcdn.com/thumbnails/comments/Here+s+a+more+derpy+version+for+you+_02ffbf769fc330664eeddd5ae75fed5b.jpg

      Last edited 17/07/16 8:28 pm

      I mean, I have no idea about the quality of the ghost busters movie, but I think liking it just because it has a cast of female characters is also arguably sexist right? I mean I get the eye for an eye thing, but just because one thing is sexist, doesn't justify another being sexist right?

      Like the ghostbusters reboot doesn't represent a culture and I'd say really has barely anything to do with this argument here. Besides, y'kno, you just wanting to nonsensically rant.

    I hope no one shows him a Shin Megami Tensei game...

    I literally bought that skin Yesterday. Sure as hell hope it doesn't dissapear.

    if its ok to be offended, then it must be ok to be racist?

    this thread is going places

      on further investigation, I ended up reading about vilification laws

    After reading Rajan Zed concerns it appears his arguments are based on the assumption that Symmetra actually becomes Devi when that skin is active.

    The character doesn't actually become the goddess Devi, she is only looks like her.

    So I wonder if knowing that would Rajan Zed see things differently?

      Well that would depend how they see dressing up in real life

    How to get yourself some limelight and get people to agree with your statements?

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