Sydney RSL Cancels Call Of Duty Tournament After Complaints From Veterans And Politicians

Sydney RSL Cancels Call Of Duty Tournament After Complaints From Veterans And Politicians

A $300 tournament for Call of Duty: WW2 next month at a Sydney RSL has been cancelled, after a volley of complaints from concerned veterans and the NSW Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

As reported by the ABC, the Castle Hill RSL was due to host a $300 Call of Duty tournament on May 8 run by the Video Gamers League. The tournament’s proximity to Anzac Day, however, resulted in veterans filing complaints to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, David Elliot.

Questioning the logic of Call of Duty being played at an RSL, Minister Elliot said the tournament was “distasteful”:

I’ve never played the game but I understand this is a game of skill and you go into the virtual reality and kill the enemy … I do think promoting war as entertainment a week after Anzac Day, in front of veterans and war widows is probably just stepping over the line.

The article also has a massive pull quote, which isn’t directly attributed, that reads: “In this case, Castle Hill RSL is offering up to $300 in prize money if you kill enough people.”

David O’Neil, the group CEO for Castle Hill RSL, said the venue had held other events previously “without incident”. That said, they conceded that “the WW2 focus of this promotion” was ill advised, presumably given its members and the proximity to Anzac Day (which takes place almost a fortnight prior).

The event organisers announced the cancellation on Facebook, but have yet to announce whether a new Call of Duty event will be held in its place. FIFA tournaments have since been held at Club Marconi and Smithfield RSL, however.

In a chat over Facebook, league owner Michal Morgan said that they would run COD events in the future, but not at RSL clubs. “We do weekly gaming tournaments at RSL clubs and have worked with many including Oatley RSL, Smithfield RSL and Castle Hill RSL,” Morgan told Kotaku.

“They have been very supportive and every event we run attracts a generation of patrons that don’t normally visit the clubs. The membership numbers increase greatly and it’s a way for RSL clubs to stay in touch with a younger generation that they are having trouble attracting.”

He said that they understood the reaction but never intended for the events to be distasteful. The Video Gamers League owner added that no complaints were made to the league directly, and that they choose games for events based on popularity.

For more about the cancellation, see the original ABC report here.


  • No CoD, you insensitive little commies! But pokies and perpetual gambling in conjunction with habitualised alcohol consumption are totally okay.

          • Call of duty isn’t a respectable representation of Ww2 or any war, Despite the story campaign & Devs/Pubs liking you too think that it is, It turns a massive profit year after year exploiting stories of war wether based on fiction or not thus it has no place within the walls of a Rsl, It’s called CALL OF DUTY & has fk all to do with the rememberence of/or respecting those it portrays.

          • FIFA is a sports game, That simply falls under entertainment but CALL OF DUTY or Medal of honor or the Iron Cross have no place there.

          • i think its obvious that he didnt see the sarcasm. they also dont realise that gaming in the military is massive and im not talking shitty EA sports gaming or Mobile gaming but actual PC and Console Gaming

            Source: Former ADF member with many mates who are still servering and done multiple tours of Iraq and Afganistan with some who even did Timor. Infact my OC at my old base acutally enjoyed playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Call of duty, along with Quake, doom and RTCW and thats just FPS

          • I work with elderly war vets all day, every day. They would not be cool with this. Especially the actual WW2 vets.

            I think it’s a good thing for RSLs to bring some of their social relevance back after all of the bad press they’ve recently had, but a WW2 deathmatch event right near ANZAC day is a stupid idea.

    • Mate, read the article.

      The venue that is all about “pokies and perpetual gambling in conjunction with habitualised alcohol consumption*” was completely ok with hosting the tournament. So presumably this is just another one of their poor decisions.

      Local Veterans were not, and made this known.

      When the concept of war as entertainment being hosted in an RSL was presented to a group of patrons who have potentially experienced similar things first hand (y’know, the RS of RSL) cooler heads appear to have prevailed.

      Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll find another venue.

      *I agree completely on this point.

    • Not sure why you’re getting dogpiled for this – RSL clubs make literally millions off gambling machines and preying on vulnerable people, as well as being one of many factors that contribute to Australia’s general drinking problem.

      But apparently all that is perfectly fine and having a game tournament there a couple weeks after ANZAC day is unacceptable.

      • Reading the article helps. The RSL itself was the one who promoted the event, who wanted the event. The servicemen who fought in wars, who have been involved in wars etc, have seen friends die in wars and have come back from war affected by issues such as PTSD don’t want to see that turning point in their lives trivialised by a videogame event. As the child of a war veteran, I completely understand the Veterans standpoint, I’ve lived as the son of a PTSD afflicted veteran all my life, seen how it affects them and seen how my own Dad hates seeing war games. If people can’t understand that, tough luck, it’s not up to the Veterans to explain that to them, it’s up to people to realise we owe it to them to accept it, whether we like it or not. I’m sure the tournament will find somewhere else more appropriate to hold its event in due course.

        • Right, I’d missed that crucial step and I think perhaps OP had as well – that it was the patrons of the RSL, not the RSL itself, that were complaining.

          • Fair point, sometimes we do miss stuff, I have enough times. I note that the RSL isn’t against, and neither are the patrons, games such as FIFA being played, it’s merely the context of the games themselves such as COD. It’d be the equivalent of going to a Rape survivors shelter and holding a Rapelay tournament there.

          • I don’t think that’s a good analogy (for one thing that would be a criminal offense as the game is not classified and would be expected to be Refused Classification!) but it also raises some side questions, like, is it the WW2 nature of it or the fact it’s a shooter? Would it be okay if it was, say, CoD Infinite Warfare or Halo or something? It sounded like this RSL has run tournaments like that before without incident.

            And if those are fine… what about Battlefield 1?

          • Actually it’s a great analogy. Both suffer from PTSD, both don’t want to be subjected to something that reminds them of a horrendous experience and both don’t want to be immersed in a horrible experience that they’d rather never experience again. It’s very apt.

            Battlefield 1 isn’t asking to be played? So I don’t get your point. The fact is, as the article states:

            “”the WW2 focus of this promotion” was ill advised, presumably given its members and the proximity to Anzac Day (which takes place almost a fortnight prior).”

            That’s not hard to understand, unless you’re simply trying to take a contrarian stance.

          • Oh I got that part. I just still see hypocrisy in it from the patrons because, well they are their to languish over drank and pokies.
            However, that’s hypocrisy as seen from MY sphere of reasoning. There world is a lot different (perhaps smaller) so I need to check myself.

  • I’ll be honest, but I do feel the optics of having a CoD:WW2 event in a club that’s for the people who fought in the real thing are a little rough.

    I can fully understand why some people would be upset over it, even if I also think the reaction was a bit over the top in this case.

    • That would be the case if RSLs were actually just clubs where a bunch of WW2 veterans hang out, and that’s certainly the case for some of them still, but it’s not the reality so much any more.

      • The RSL is a place where veterans of all walks of life and wars congregate. WW2 veterans, Vietnam veterans (though in smaller numbers, as Vietnam vets had to fight to be recognised), Gulf War vets from 1 and 2 and on and on. PTSD doesn’t recognise a particular wars name, it’s universal to those who have experienced the horrors of war. My cousin and her husband were both in Timor, both saw bodies of men, women and children hacked to pieces by machettes, then burnt by the local people during their time there, they were part of the peace keeping forces. Her husband still has times, twenty plus years later where he wakes at night screaming, we hear it when he stays here. They both attend RSL’s, where they meet veterans, talk about experiences, sometimes just hang out with people who ‘know’ what it’s like. It’s cathartic for them and being around those who ‘know’ is great treatment for them, rather than those who can only guess. It’s very much still the reality, despite what we may think.

        • That’s their stated purpose but not a lot of the clientele nowadays. They’ve already fleeced all the susceptible veterans with their pokies, need more blood through.

          • Well yes but that’s apples and oranges for the intent of the article. The article is about the RSL *clients* response not the RSL themselves. The Veterans themselves are not the ones running the pokies.

            It’s just a significant thing…

          • Yes, but the context of this particular comment thread is talking about the RSL itself. RSLs let anyone join and enter, it is not restricted to veterans.

          • I don’t think you understand what a Strawman argument is, because that is definitely not one, but I’m honestly not invested enough in this to argue any more so whatever.

  • Veterans think everyone else should show them grovelling praise and adulation. Maybe those in WW1 & 2 and Korea, but since the past few decades they have helped make parts of the world worse (while earning coin better than many other Ozzies ever will).

    • The only reason you’re able to type absolute drivel like this is because of our Veterans. But I doubt you’ve got the mental capacity or fortitude to be able to process that fact.

      • Well no, none of our veterans in recent years have done anything at all to directly defend Australia, unless you believe fabricated claims about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which have been well and truly debunked. So censoring this guy out of pique is pretty off.

        What they HAVE done is defended numerous corporate interests at the behest of America and in the process stoked anti-West sentiment and terrorist recruitment, resulting indirectly in the deaths of Australians as a result. But hey, war on terror and all that, yeah?

        But hey, on the off chance this gets past the right wing censorship brigade here, it’s not likely to gain any traction because this story really seems to have got the jingoistic juices flowing.

        • There’s an old saying, you blame the Government, not the soldier. If you disagree with something our armed forces have done, vote against the person in parliament, do something to invoke change. All you’re doing is spouting rhetoric and conspiracy theories.

          As far as ‘none of our veterans in recent years have done nothing’ goes, again the people of East Timor would disagree, as would many in areas where we’ve given humanitarian aid. But, you can’t see past your utter hatred of the Armed forces, especially because you bring in irrelevant factors trying to obfuscate the issue.

          • Thanks for confirming what I said about censorship. Assuming you eventually get to read this, the only one spouting conspiracy theories is you (assuming you believe any of the alleged and debunked reasons for our *defence* force to have engaged in multiple Middle Eastern conflicts). Meanwhile everything I said is entirely empirically demonstrable.

            Only one of us is spouting rhetoric due to their ideological blinders and it isn’t me.

            And I’ll be generous and assume your spray of a second paragraph is due to poor reading comprehension of both my post and the one that initially triggered you. Neither said ‘the veterans have done nothing’. I said very clearly ‘have done anything at all to directly defend Australia’. While there have been humanitarian actions undertaken alongside our engagement in illegal wars, these have not directly defended our nation. The only threat Australia has faced in decades is terrorism, a threat we would not suffer (or at least be waaaaaay down the list) if we hadn’t engaged in all these illegal wars.

            But hey, you’re a conservative so I don’t exactly expect you to utilise any reason in your response.

            Just go ahead and censor some more, it’s all you people do on here.

          • You will find those who engage in soldier-worship to be the ones who lack “mental capacity or fortitude”. They lack a critical brain and simply parrot the unquestioning pro-military hysteria of the mainstream media. The reason i can write freely is because the allies rolled back the Japanese in WW2. That was a praiseworthy feat, but i fail to see how Islamic terrorists can ever be a threat to any Western way of life besides the occasional terror threat. Do you seriously think they have the power to conquer and hold Western territory?! I think people should be more worried about the menace of the drug trade towards the proper functioning of our society and should heap greater praise on our police forces than the military. Since 9/11, the military has been the enabler of the deluded aims of neo-cons that has only resulted in a greater terror threat to our world. ISIS would not exist if Western militaries hadn’t invaded Iraq.

          • Regardless of the motivation, our going to the Iraq war still helped in bringing down Sadam.

            It seems to some, that doesn’t matter.

          • Have you heard about cost-benefit analysis? Going to Iraq replaced a hamstrung secular dictator with a sectarian Shia regime that is a de facto extension of the mullahs in Iran, it rejuvenated terrorism, killed/injured countless innocent Iraqis, boosted regional conflagrations… But at least you can boast it removed Saddam.

    • I think this is the first time I’ve ever downvoted a post.
      Fortunately for you there are people like myself and others who *volunteer* for military service. We don’t think anyone should show us grovelling praise or adulation for a job we do. In response to your comment about making parts of the world worse I have actually been thanked profusely by indigenous people of war affected zones which I have felt totally embarrassed by….because it’s our job.
      We have no say in the amount of payment we receive for our job – society deems it a more vital role than that of my current role (yes, I am retired (medically discharged)) therefore the pay is higher.
      This comment smacks of ignorance and I wish I could downvote it further.

    • You realise that soldiers don’t decide where they’re sent, right? That’s the realm of politicians. People who sign up for the military usually have pretty noble motivations. They don’t necessarily agree with the politics behind every conflict.

      If you want to get angry at somebody for sending soldiers somewhere you don’t think they should’ve been sent, blame the people who actually made that decision. What you’re saying is like blaming construction workers for putting in a new highway right next to your house. Your anger might be justified, but it’s misdirected.

      • I would likely not look too kindly upon construction workers if the company they worked for built a road through my house without my consent, and especially using a false pretext, and then they failed in any sizeable number to offer me an apology or show any regret.
        NB.: that’s an Iraq analogy.

  • I actually think both the manager of the rsl and the event organisers should be fired for the decision to allow it. cod ww2 is a great game and story, but it has no place in a venue for people who coule have ptsd.

  • Agree, this is just a bit of in-hindsight we should of had some common sense about not hosting war games in the house built of surviving service men. Looks like everyone made the right call… eventually.

    How it ended up blown out that two ministers making public statements is a bit too much… why wasn’t this a few behind the scenes phone calls and zero press situation?

  • Just wanna say I don’t disagree with the people that took exception to my comment (I’ll own that I just jumped down the dissenting party’s throat because I didn’t like the information), I just have conviction that A) It’s 80 years too late to act PTSD over WW2 triggers, and B) Proximty to ANZAC day is a bit rich and infers that people are taking exception to it based on timing, which is kinda like getting upset over somebody screening “The Life of Brian” a week before Easter due to blasphemy.
    At the end of the day it’s a minor thing at a minor place that’s not destroying humanity. It just frustrates me that people can mobilise enough to put a stop to something like th— Stopping myself in advance!
    I’ve become way too much of an opionated fuck lately and share way too much of my inner convictions!
    Calling it a day.!
    Love you all, fellow Australian Kotaku posters! You keep me thinking and I DO learn from all your thoughts and opinions even if I get a little outwardly haughty at times.

    • Ask a vet how long it takes for the PTSD to fade.

      I was asked to speak about my life history in front of a group of vets a few months ago. My life history involves living in Japan and running a Japan-centric not-for-profit. Two of them had to leave the room to get themselves together.

      The RSL is their club. It’s their place to go. They should be able to say “Yeah could you not play a fun round of WW2 slaughterbots while I’m here?” and not have people get on them for it. The RSL organisers should’ve known better.

      • But— BUT! The youngest WW2 vet was born in 1930. If he hadn’t died in 1992 (I think it was) he’d be 88 now.
        So, realistically there’d be few— very few— WW2 vets at RSL’s.
        The rest would be Nam vets (possible as it was like 60-70k Australians) or, I dunno, Battle of Endor?
        Realistically, few people standing can claim WW2 shell shock.
        Not to diminish what you are saying (please just trust me when I say I understand PTSD), but I think this is more about the respect part of the equation than triggering.

        • Yeah, fair enough. But war stuff is war stuff. I talk to vets from Vietnam, Korea, and Malaya every day. i talk to vets from newer wars a couple of times a week. This shit hits them right in the feels no matter what it’s for. It’s not even necessarily something that causes them problems, it can just be that they don’t want to be around it because they find it distasteful.

          The RSL is literally their clubhouse. The club members get to decide what happens in their clubhouse. The people running a private space on behalf of the “owners” decided to do a thing and the club members basically said “We don’t like that” so it stopped happening. Their house, their rules.

          • And I get it. They deserve a place where they can kick back and mingle. Their turf, their rules.

        • My mother was born after the war but her father did serve, she still remembers the tears, drunken ramblings of the horrors from Guinea, the night mares he would get, the way her mum said it changed him as a person and he wasn’t the man she married, then I remember her telling me the emotion she felt when my father was conscripted during the Vietnam war. It effects more than just those directly serving.

          • Don’t get me started on this topic. War tears families apart in many ways. My family has suffered from it as have most. It’s a very raw and very real thing and we need a better way forward.

    • The RSL clubs have been in a lot of hot water lately. They’ve lost their charity status and are no longer allowed to collect donations. It’s corrupt as shit right now and the people skimming off the cream are scrambling to cover themselves.

      • Have they actually lost it yet? Last I heard they were at risk of losing it but had agreed in Qld at least, to work hand in hand with the Watchdog to avoid having it done so? That was in May last year though, it might’ve changed since then.

        • I just went and had a quick read around. Seems like they may have not officially lost it because they volunteered to suspend all fundraising until further notice (in NSW at least). From what I’d heard in the not-for-profit industry, they had already lost it.
          So what it looks like to me is that they can keep the certification as long as they don’t try to actually use it. If they lost it properly it would be near impossible to get it back, so they’ve worked out a short term solution to give them time to cut out the cancer.

  • Unbelievable just how bad this city has become that now even well after closing down the night life they are just going to keep ruining all kinds of things for the community as much as they can! They should get there heads out of there asses & be more compromising but no… power is there pleasure!! Pfft

  • Oh the irony of this thread… told someone they weren’t being censored… then got censored myself for saying that. What a giggle and a half that turned out to be 🙂

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