Ubisoft Rips Out Division 2 Street Art Over Homophobic Slur

Image: Imgur

The Division 2 publisher has issued an apology over a piece of street art in The Division 2's in-game world, after it was discovered to have a homophobic slur.

The poster in question shows a moustached security guard eating a donut, with the badge number "FA6607". There's no other in-game context for the poster, or the meaning behind it, although users have noted that the visual style is reminiscent of Police Story, a song from the punk rock band Black Flag in the '80s.

The art for Police Story features an officer with a gun in their mouth, featuring the caption "Make me come, faggot!". The cover art was controversial at the time, and was released at a time when the band and its supporters were already under the spotlight of authorities.

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But the The Division 2 offers no such context, and even if that were the case, it's still a hugely derogatory term. An anti-police message is understandable in some contexts, particularly in parts of the United States where the relationship between police and communities is fundamentally broken. But conveying that through a word that is completely unacceptable in any professional setting, not to mention the lack of context around what might have inspired this imagery - and Ubisoft didn't offer any explanation or background to flesh that out - isn't a good look.

So it's understandable that Ubisoft has apologised and ripped the art out entirely. "We removed the image from the game via a patch on Thursday, April 11," Ubisoft said in a statement, published by PC Gamer.

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"We apologise that this image slipped through our content review processes, and we are currently reviewing them in order to avoid this kind of oversight from occurring in the future."

[Thanks, PC Gamer!]

Update: Clarified that the officer pictured in-game was a security officer (as outlined on the badge) rather than a uniformed police officer. Apologies.


Comments

    ok I was utterly confused by this article but the source article actually points it out (somewhat)

    it seems the (main?) offensive thing is FA6607 which is leet for... well you can google it

    talk about obscure

      I've mentioned that pretty clearly in the second paragraph.

        You don't get to be first commenter by reading the article!

          I replyed for the thrill of replying

        maybe make a minor edit that it's leetspeak

        cause i certainly didn't pick it up until I read the source, I just thought it was a bunch of letters and numbers

        I got to the end of the article before I tweaked that FA6607 in 2nd paragraph and faggot in 3rd paragraph was related. It was a very subtle link.

        You mention the badge number, but I honestly didn't click that it was l33t speak till reading this post.
        But what do I know? I once once bought a packet of Spicy Mi Goreng thinking it was regular Mi Goreng. So... y'know...

    So it is ok to make derogatory anti-police comments as long as it doesn't offend lgbt people?

      Or they could just be non derogatory comments? If there's an anti-police message Ubi wants to inject into the game, there's other ways of doing that.

        Sorry Alex but I thought you were one of the half decent ones out there. Guess I was wrong.

          Just to be clear - what are you defending here? That the content should have stayed in the game? I don't understand what the angle is, or why I'm suddenly "not one of the good ones".

            How about the poster in general was in bad taste and didn't need to be there. Only it seems the reason anyone seems to care is because it has a naughty word instead of being derogatory against people who the majority of put their mental health and physical health on the line each day to shield society from the 2% of truly evil filth I'm the world.

              Probably worth mentioning the poster is of a security guard, not a police officer.

                That's something I can fix up. It's also worth noting that I'm not outlining my views or relationship with police - just trying to provide some context for people for the (likely) origins of the poster. My point was Ubi could have done this in a more appropriate way, if that's actually a narrative theme that they wanted in the game. (It doesn't look like it is, and with Division agents being 'the police' in practice, it doesn't make much sense.)

                To @simocrates: Everyone's agreed that the poster didn't need to be there, but we're in 2019 and with no other context, is it really a surprise that the word was the main reason this was being called out? To most people, it just looks like a funky drawing of a cop eating a donut. It's not flattering, but if you don't know the background, what do you think is going to raise more eyebrows?

                  I'm sorry Alex, I let myself get triggered over what I was assuming was a message condoning anti-Police sentiment. Truth of the matter is it has been a pretty big couple of weeks at my station and especially for myself and my team. I was the first responder of two murders in two weeks, providing CPR on people I knew wouldn't make it but had to try anyway. Murders just don't happen in Canberra, especially not back to back like they did. I shouldn't have said the stupid things I did but I did so I can't change it.

                  You can ban my account or whatever, I just don't care anymore. I'm done.

          Why should a game have a homophobic slur kept in, when it has purpose to the story or setting, what just to make YOU feel better?

          The amount of rubbish that community has to deal with daily, even in this day, is truly obscene. I, for one, dont need to see this type of thing, and dont want any of the dozens of people I work with directly, have to see such things in a huge AAA game and gamers, such as yourself, finding its removal as some sort of slight against yourself.

          PS Alex is merely reporting the story. Just his job. So how does that make him a 'bad one'?!

            *has no purpose to story

              @alexwalker @zombiejesus @pokedad

              don't know if any of you care to hear this but i think maybe the issue @simocrates is trying unsuccessfully to convey stems from him assuming something incorrectly from part of the article.

              An anti-police message is understandable in some contexts, particularly in parts of the United States where the relationship between police and communities is fundamentally broken.

              i would assume this is a reference to racism and the police things like BLM and other anti police movements. I think simo is assuming some kind of anti police stance at the mention of this topic.

              Or maybe he's just a nutter that thinks having the word faggot in the game for no reason is okay and i'm playing devils advocate for nothing and wasting everyone's time.

                All other things aside, having an anti-police stance is completely valid given that they have a demonstrated culture of overreach and abuse of power often resulting in death for no wrongdoing. This is a game set in what is ostensibly the real world and draws heavily on current political and cultural happenings. To pretend there isn't a problem associated with police and violence in Washington DC, especially among minorities would be glaring in its omission.

                  i wasn't making any argument with regards to police violence. I wouldn't agree with the term often given how many interactions police have day to day and how many of these violent/fatal incidents actually occur, i mean it is very rare.

                  You know that several of these heavily published incidents turned out to be complete bullshit which is unfortunate because now there are people that think the issue doesn't exist and ignore the fact that it seems more needs to be done, i have no clue as to what should be done.

                  i just wanted you to understand what he might be reacting to so you can address the actual root of his opposition, it's no good arguing about faggot being in a game if his actual problem with the article is some vague references to a real issue that is by no means a settled argument. You obviously think he's wrong and it seems like you might have a skewed idea as to how often these things are happening, i would guess his opinion at least closely resembles the opinion that we have all seen before "sure there are racist police but the police force is not racist etc etc" AKA head securely fastened up own arse.

                  as with most issues i cant find a mainstream narrative that represents my views i think both sides are being idiots and are pushing each other further away, i also want to stress even though you haven't said much about the issue i wouldn't put you in either camp i just think maybe you've seen some bias sources with regards to the frequency of these incidents. I have to stress this unfortunately because everyone seems to think the reply button actually means attack. :(

                  EDIT: i have read more of simocrates comments below and wow... i defended a total fool

                  Last edited 15/04/19 3:52 pm

                You were correct. I was unhappy with what seemed to me like an anti-police stance being acceptable. So much so that it obviously triggered me a bit and lead to some outlandish replies to some of the usual holier than thou commenters. I decided to take a week away from Kotaku to collect myself.

                It angered me so much mainly because I work alongside damn good people in the Police who sacrifice so much of their family lives and mental health to bend over backwards for the community and because of a few bad apples in America and a terrible media system that would rather report on the bad things that Police do instead of the hundreds of goods things instead, people seem to think it is ok to just slag off all Police.

                I just wanted to say that your comments in this thread have been spot on. You've taken the time to consider an argument instead of frothing at the mouth like others have (including me). Also I'm not a fool, I just had a moment of weakness and let insignificant comments get the better of me.

                  It's OK dude.

                  Hope Easter gives you a bit of a respite.

                  thankyou,
                  i hope your friends in the police force get the respect they earn, i'm glad your feeling better.

                  i haven't been on Kotaku very long and i never use social media so i fell into the same reactionary pitfall several times myself, i'm not sure what the solution is because not engaging solves nothing yet i seem to be terrible at explaining my point of view. Maybe people just take me out of context deliberately i don't know but if you think of a solution let me know.

            For once I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think we can all agree that on the surface, with no background info as to the artist's message or intent, it's offensive to at least one or two communities. And since it has no connections vital to the plot or game, thematically, narratively or mechanically, why would you want it to stay? Things like conversations, debates, stories and art, if they make someone uncomfortable due to having to face an unpleasant truth or broaching a topic that is offensive or undesirable, yet still has worth by shining a light on subjects that tend go either under the radar or ignored due to folks not wanting to go anywhere near them (for whatever reasons), or better still enable someone to see things from another point of view- these things are important. If its something that can take an issue that is so touchy that it's mostly argued by incoherent screaming from the extremes of both sides and turn it into a rational (or at least civil) debate- that is worth keeping around too. On face value, this isn't that. It just a thing that has offended some groups of people and has nothing positive or intelligent to bring to the table in return. Without asking the artist what their piece means or it's relevance, we'll never know. If then, it's only apparent output is to upset some folk, then piss it off outta here if that's all it does.

              well said although i can't imagine this being the only time you have agreed with blakeavon surely he's made some good points before. I disagree with him all the time but this wouldn't even be the 10th time i have agreed with something he said.

              maybe your new to this comment section.

      You just upvoted a derogatory comment about journalists in another article. Let's not throw around double standards when you're guilty of the same thing yourself.

        So LGBT and Journalists are no go areas but Police are? Good to know.

          It's up to you whether you think they're all fair game or all off the table, but straddling the line is hypocritical.

          I don't think you actually do care about derogatory comments, towards anyone. It reads as just a 'gotcha' play so you could accuse the author of double standards, but the whole thing is undermined when it's the pot calling out the kettle.

          The former has NO place in the story, while the later makes sense in the world and setting.

        without double standards some people would have no standards at all =)

      Police don't regularly find themselves the victims of LGBTQI violence. hth.

        So cops can't be LGBT now? Pretty messed up view you got there.

          Please fuck off with the strawman arguments already. Almost every single one of your comments on this article is you making some bizarre assumption about what someone else thinks based on a completely unrelated comment. Address the comment directly or delete your account.

          Please try very hard to find a way to make this about your outrage and not about America's relationship with police brutality or the use of slurs in popular culture.

          You're doing a good job so far, FYI.

      What the actual?

        Simocrates - you’re doing a pretty good job of digging yourself a hole. Dig up stupid

    I've never understood censorship like this, you literally murder 1000's of people but can't type Ass or see some offensive (to some) words. I wish they would allow a toggle option to turn such things off and on.

    What's so offensive about a Police Officer being homosexual?

      The slur is what's offensive.

        i think this guy thought it was a poster of a proud gay officer that for some reason decided to have a derogatory slur emblazoned on his chest...

        i think you went too easy on this moron zombie, sometimes your too nice

    The artist is clearly a Black Flag fan and decided to put in a homage as an esoteric joke.

    Yet once again the easily outraged, ignorant of context brigade have rushed to jump on the bandwagon to head to the molehill in a rush to create a mountain from it.

      Couldn't they have done that without the badge number though? Black Flag fans would have picked the art without needing the reference. Message gets across while being conscious of modern tastes - isn't that a good solution?

      You're reaching real hard there to support the use of a pejorative against a minority. The easier response is to be less of a bloody nutsack.

      Yeah, as soon as I saw the article, I recognised it for a BF reference. The faggot part was making reference to that, but obviously, it was never gonna go down well.

    What if the badge ID was FA9906?
    Did someone actually take offense to street art in a post apocalyptic war-torn Washington?

    Frankly you would be pretty hard pressed to prove motive unless the artist came out with a statement indicating offensive intention.

      Authorial intent is highly overrated.

      Just because you don't mean to cause offense, doesn't mean you didn't do or say something offensive.

        I used to say that intent is where the problem is; that someone shouldn't be entitled to sympathy unless their being offended was intentional.

        The deeper down this progressive rabbit hole we go, the more I think that being offended is a weakness and I lose all respect for people who play the victim card in relation to speech. No words will ever equate to actual violence, and only those who have had it easy will ever complain about mere words.

        I do not want to live in a world where it's a crime to voice my opinion, regardless of how insensitive or vulgar that opinion may be.

        ACTUALLY- I had a discussion with someone over the term 'cripple'. I was brought up to think that term offensive, and therefore I avoided using it. I replied to a political figure on twitter regarding his use of the term, and was bombarded with responses from "crips" and "disabled people" (their words not mine). The problem here is subjectivity; I can easily claim that the stereotyping phrase 'toxic masculinity' offends me (which it honestly does), but I'll get no airtime over that because I'm not part of the sensitive movement. Hence, I grew my current opinion that obnoxious and public voicing of offense is pitiful.

        Last edited 12/04/19 5:35 pm

          The deeper down this progressive rabbit hole we go, the more I think that being offended is a weakness and I lose all respect for people who play the victim card in relation to speech. No words will ever equate to actual violence, and only those who have had it easy will ever complain about mere words.

          This is the perspective of someone who has lived with the easy-to-miss privilege of not being the target of constant verbal abuse. It is easy to think "it is just A joke, move on". What you miss is that not standing on the side of the person being offended, you don't get to see the /continuous/ ceaseless stream of abuse, direct or indirect, institutionalised and systemic to the point where people who don't mean offense cause it because they have absorbed it from the social environment.

          One joke or two or ten are easy to dismiss. A whole cultural attitude that makes people consciously or not remind you constantly that you are "the other", day after day is not so easy to dismiss nor should be simply acknowledged as a fact of life.

          You fundamentally misunderstand how human brains process trauma.

        That very much goes both ways... Because it also doesn't mean you did something offensive just because someone else says so.

          Look at the word, look at its history - stop being such a dipshit.

          Honestly, the gumption of people in this thread defending hate speech. It's almost you all think you actually have something of worth to say.

            Defending hate speech? Oh please... God people like you love to throw that line around to dismiss and discredit people.

            I'm just not onboard with the idea that just because someone finds something you might say offensive that it means it is undeniably the case and that something MUST be done about it.

              Arguing that "not every word is offensive just because someone says it is" in a discussion about this particular word is like arguing that "not every touch is harmful just because someone says it is" in a discussion about punching people in the face. It's irrelevant if it's true or not in other cases, it plainly doesn't apply here. This word is hate speech, and it's not acceptable to use it like it was, whether harm was intended or not.

                i have a feeling kasterix wasn't referring to this particular incident, and if that is the case then she/he isn't wrong. For example many people use the world faggot as part of their vocabulary and use it in certain contexts that have absolutely nothing to do with gay people.

                It's a broader argument about the term hate speech being used incorrectly in society today, the word faggot isn't inherently hate speech because it depends on the context, and this holds true for every single word that exists in the English language whether something is hate speech or not is not dependent on any given words or phrase its all to do with the context.

                you are completely right at least i think so anyway when you talk about this particular incident it was being used in a derogatory way and therefore it might not be "hateful" exactly but it is unacceptable and should be removed.

                  i have a feeling kasterix wasn't referring to this particular incident, and if that is the case then she/he isn't wrong.
                  You're correct, I wasn't. I was responding to someone's comment about authorial intent.

                  Glad to see someone didn't blatantly ignore that purely so they could babble on about how I'm defending hate speech, etc.

                Discussions don't exist in a bubble. Last time I checked one was allowed talk about something being referenced without it being DIRECTLY related to a specific incident in the article in question.

                It happens all the time in these comment sections, suddenly acting like it doesn't is awfully convenient for you.

                  That your generalisation isn't in a bubble is the point. In the context of this discussion, it reads as an attempt to minimise a clear wrong by drawing comparison to the irrelevant times when it might not be wrong. Either you've been unclear, and you should clarify whether you think this use of the word is wrong, or you're being disingenuous.

              Look at the word, look at its history - stop being such a dipshit. Be better. Stop being such a dipshit.

      Did someone actually take offense to street art in a post apocalyptic war-torn Washington?
      Man, these days people take offense if a strong breeze hits them the wrong way.

    Such strange times. While I don't advocate it's use, I can hardly picture any major city in crisis holding up to the Safetyisms that is so prevalent now.

    Picture this, a group of violent meth heads has taken over your neighbourhood. You are scared, they've killed people, vandalised and probably worse. You are in your house and the lights out... they are spraying your wall. One goes "hey what are you gonna spray here", "I was gonna spray paint a cop and then pretend its a security guard by carefully changing the badge", "haha right", "his badge will say FA6607", "......... Shit duuuuuuude, you can't spray that, Terry the Maimer over on 6th and Main is gay, he will complain to the boss", "damn, I will just change it to BADGUY instead"

    We are playing a game about killing people, who are killing other people and performing public executions and such. The game makes liberal use of profanity. for the game to be a dynamic world and to be loosely based on the real world, would it not make sense for this sort of content to actually be included?
    Side quests could have been implemented to fix it, like say the Theater settlement has a few people who are offended by it, who task you with clearing the area so they can repaint it, or change it somehow.

      In-universe explanations - what you've just attempted - don't excuse out-of-universe bullshit. This kind of argument has been prevalent in videogames for a years and years and years, and is still an incredibly poor way of rationalising bullshit.

        I would agree with you if it were a game like Elite Dangerous or Super Mario brothers.
        I am also going to assume you skimmed and didn't actually read the solutions provided in my post.

        We are talking about a game that has parallels to the real world and like it or not, the real world is not all sunshine and rainbows. Video games have been topics for discussion for some time, particularly when it pertains to violence and sexuality.
        Blanket "stop drop and roll" tactics don't work. People will remember that Division 2 was a game where a cop was called faggot in leet speek then whitewashed.
        A game where the faults of mankind are laid bare then rectified in game in a meaningful way would have a greater impact. People need to see that the worlds a shitty place, there's no hiding it, but we can fix it.

        People and companies are so worried about personal/brand image, they aren't able to come up with solutions, because people feel bullied and pressured into taking the less controversial way. Controversy begets solutions and stagnant line toeing changes nothing.

        Now we all know what I suggest wasn't what was intended with Division 2, they would not have even thought of that as a solution. What I am saying is that it is a solution that should be considered, the active rectification of a problem by the player base instead of simple conformity.

          No. I read the whole thing. Your solutions are based on an overly generous diegetic reading of the scenario. The same as every other time someone has bumbled along and tried to defend sexism, racism, homophobia, and any other kicking downwards at a minority in a videogame - both they and you are doing a crap thing there.

          Don't be a dipshit by invoking analogy to the real world as a defence of homophobia. The solution to homophobia is: don't fucking do it.

            That's not a solution. That's the same argument to people about being gay in the first place. Hey the solution to not being gay is so easy.... don't be.
            Not really a solution is it, however it was what was forced on people who were confused for so long. You can't cure cancer by saying "don't have cancer"

            The vast majority of people are not forward thinkers. People also hate being told what they can and can not do. They harder people are shoved the harder they shove back.
            It is what drove the black population of America from segregation to acceptance. Them taking a stand and saying, hey this shit isn't cool any longer, we will attend school, sit where we want and eat where we want was the catalyst for change. That didn't start with the whole populace doing it, but forward thinkers like Malcom X and Dr King, who stood up and offered solutions, both controversial and practical.

            And please leave the childish name calling out. Calling people dipshit because they don't share your viewpoint is as hypocritical as it gets.

              The solution in this instance was removing the image. We didn't need to use a rhetorical mechanism to make the image make sense diegetically - simultaneously enabling homophobia. Instead, the parties involved acted responsibly and ethically and got their shit done.

              People who know what they're doing is harmful to minority populations and yet continue to do it are dipshits not because of a difference in opinion but because of what they do. The solution is to not be or enable homophobic fuckwits.

                wouldn't the solution your proposing "don't fucking do it" actually be implemented beforehand like not putting the slur in the game to begin with.

                fester on the other hand is offering a solution for once the slur is already in the game, namely facing the issue and instead of just removing it having something akin to a teachable moment which also rectifies the problem.

                i don't really see how just up and removing it after it is already in the game is any better than his solution, the ideal situation being what you said "don't fucking do it" and the slur never being in the game to begin with. But once it is in the game maybe trying to use it as a teachable moment and using structure and story to show how and why it is offensive and should not be tolerated might even wake up some homophobes to the error of their ways.

                i guess that assumes we have homophobes playing the game and also that you believe people can change, but i would like to assume at least the latter be true and something everyone can believe in.

      The problem is that the slur didn't appear as part of the creators' intentions. If it did, they may have done what you propose: set it in a clear, negative light where it is a thing that must be combatted. However, since it was apparently slipped in cheekily by a subcontracted artist, it is not their responsibility to create extra work for themselves in order to provide an in-universe justification for its existence. Removing it was the right call.

      Picture this: A bunch of out of control meth heads climb a building to meticulously plan and create a 3 storey tall piece of street art because if you bend over far enough you can find a justification for a company to make fake graffiti in a fake place and put slurs in it.

    Hang on there, Fester. Back up a sec. Are you seriously equating peeps defending their right to bigotry with with African Americans standing up for equal rights and fighting against...drum roll...bigotry?
    WOW, dude.

      I would strongly suggest you re-read my replies. There seems to be a general perception that I am defending bigotry. In fact I would say assumptions have been made regarding my position on this topic.

      What I am saying effective change for social issues does not happen by throwing a blanket over the problem.

      I used the struggles of the black population of North America as a parallel to the struggles faced by the gay community today.
      In my example I said it required forward thinkers like Dr King and Malcom X to push people forward. The reason the changes happened is because solutions, both controversial and practical came into being. Whether it was peaceful protest or civil disobedience. At no stage was their plight alleviated by simply telling people to stop but in the promotion of understanding as to why people need to stop.

      The examples stated are to show that even controversial actions can effect positive change, and concluding that the solution I provided being a means of supporting the struggle of these people, through a medium that millions / billions of people enjoy every day, video games. Simply covering up this issue doesn't solve it, and I simply think that should a game promote solutions like the example I gave in earlier posts, rather than the usual "whoops how did that get there" kind of responses.

        If so many people reading it think you're defending bigotry and you didn't intend it, maybe we should go back to the authorial intent argument because this is case in point.

    [insert comment trying to defend homophobia because reasons or something]

      you know if you actually read the comments being made you might not be such a cynical ass, even though many of them are wrong they are taking the time to explain why they think what they think and not a single one of them was someone defending homophobia "just coz they like to slag off the gays".

      making bitchy little comments like this might make you feel better but maybe you should try explaining how and why they are wrong instead of just making fun of them, giving someone shit for sharing an opinion never changes anyone's mind you pillock.

        Says bitchy comments are bad, calls me a pillock. "Can I order a standard please? Actually, make it a double!"

          your replying to a reply i posted to somebody else... i wasn't aware some people could be so desperate for attention.

          i called paf a pillock because he is, you are something else entirely.

            Which is odd, as my notifications said I had a reply- from you. Calm down cupcake.

              does that happen if i upvote you?

              and i'm not a cupcake, it's painfully obvious that i'm a jam donut

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