JB Hi-Fi Takes Down ‘Very Angry Lesbian’ Promo For Last Of Us 2

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jbhifi last of us 2 angry lesbian-1
Image: Twitter

A Brisbane JB Hi-Fi store has pulled down a derogatory promo stand for The Last Of Us 2, which swapped out the game’s title on the box art with the words “A Very Angry Lesbian”.

Images of the promo began circulating on Twitter from the co-founder of PaperScape Press, a local indie comics stockist. The stand featured box copies with some fake overgrowth – mirroring the environments in-game. The offending element was a mock image of the box art, reading “A Very Angry Lesbian”.

Immediately after posting, the Twitter user said while they’d seen it as a meme online, it “shouldn’t be used as part of visual merchandising”. It’s understandably inflammatory, and local outlets Press-Start and Stevivor immediately criticised the JB Hi-Fi store for the stand.

The Brisbane-based store confirmed over the phone that the stand has since been taken down. When asked why, the JB employee said they were not at liberty to discuss the reasoning.

JB has not provided a comment at the time of writing. The company’s staffers regularly use snark and humour in their reviews, most famously taking the piss at games at times, like No Man’s SkyFallout 76 and Anthem.

The reviews for Last of Us Part 2, meanwhile, began appearing last week. Most critics have been effusive in their praise, although there are some less impressed with Ellie’s second outing. I found the game lacking the tight narrative structure of the first game, while Kotaku US’s Riley found the game was exhausting and unnecessarily brutal.

“So many people worked on this game for so long, and at such cost, that I want The Last Of Us 2 to be more than the experience I had,” Riley wrote.

Aussie YouTuber Skill Up had a similar experience, saying the movie felt like a DC movie where “everyone is grim dark all the time”. “The Last of Us 2 is completely lost in the darkness, because there’s no light to look for,” he said.

Comments

    • When I think of who is potentially writing/making this material I just think of someone aged 16-22. Definitely someone who thought it was funny, and had no idea that they need to be educated in how offensive they can be. This doesn’t excuse it, managers should have been around to approve and reject what was put up in different areas

      • This is what happens when your corporate culture tells your young, hip employees to be creative in their spare time at work. There’s zero quality control and it’s only a matter of time before someone does something… tone deaf.

  • owenWilsonWow.gif
    I can’t imagine the mindset of someone thinking this was even remotely ok, particularly during LGBT Pride Month.

    • This is the point where I’m somewhat confused as to what is so offensive about it. There are those that are in love with identity politics, and wearing their labeling on their sleeve. Calling Ellie a lesbian isn’t offensive, its a statement of fact. Saying that she’s very angry? Thats just breaking down the marketing that Sony and Naughty Dog have put into it. At the core, she’s angry. They’ve beaten it over our heads since the announcement, that its the Angry Ellie revenge story.

      Having a game put out there front and center with the leads sexuality on her sleeve like that? Thats absolutely a Pride thing, and owning it. You know there’ll be fan art out there of Ellie with the lesbian pride flag.

      So I don’t see why anyone in the community would be rightfully offended by it. I could see maybe homophobes being offended by having a AAA game clearly showing that it has a gay lead?

      • Sony’s never marketed Ellie as “an angry lesbian” – her sexuality has never been part of the marketing. That’s just her as a character, but Sony has never put it front and centre in such a way.

        Identity issues aside, since I’m not that well placed to talk about those, there’s the ad problem. If you’re someone who knows nothing about games, or The Last of Us 2, and you walk into JB. You turn and see that advertisement. What’s the impression you’re likely to form of the game? Will it be good or bad? Are you likely to have a positive impression of Ellie after seeing that ad?

        If the answers are ‘no’, then even if it was meant to be a meme, it’s still a violation of the advertising code of ethics.

        • “That’s just her as a character, but Sony has never put it front and centre in such a way.”

          So my friend who just happens to be lesbian who’s sitting next to me and just referenced in another comment below who’s not offended by the advert would like me point out – that she :

          “Count’s sony putting it front and center when its literally the first thing expressed by her character in the reveal trailer I saw”.

          “Count’s ND putting it front and center as ND have frequently pointed out how lesbian she is and bragged about it”.

          And :

          “I’m more offended by the stereotypical plad she was wearing in the reveal trailer, we’re not all tradies despite what people getting offended for us think”.

          There you have it, yes she just had to explain the whole plad shirt thing to me as well, had no idea that’s a stereotype.

          • OK. Let’s break this down.

            “Reveal trailer I saw” – the official reveal trailer didn’t feature any such thing beyond Ellie playing a guitar while covered in blood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2Wnvvj33Wo

            “Count’s ND putting it front and center as ND have frequently pointed out how lesbian she is and bragged about it”.

            Sony does the marketing, not Naughty Dog, but the game is not “putting it front and center”. It’s there, in the same way a sex scene in a game and conversation reveals someone’s identity, but it’s not a constant dialogue about Ellie’s queerness or constantly spousing any sort of ideology. It’s a part of who Ellie is, but that’s it.

            Lot of people have made a ton of judgements on what they think the game is, versus what it actually is.

          • The dancing bit in the dimly lit area.

            @dogbouy – she just had a really good laugh at that as her partner drives an outback and had no idea of the whole thing about it.

        • “her sexuality has never been part of the marketing. That’s just her as a character, but Sony has never put it front and centre in such a way. ”

          Except for – you know – the trailer they showed at E3 2018. If that’s not putting it “front and centre” I don’t know what is.

          They could have had that scene in the game, but chosen not to draw attention to it until after release. But, no…they decided to put it in an E3 trailer that they knew millions of people would watch. Whether the decision to show that scene in the trailer was Sony’s or Naughty Dog’s, it doesn’t matter. Whoever made the decision knew exactly what they were doing, make no mistake about that. They wanted to shout from the rooftops “Hey everyone look! Ellie’s a lesbian! See? She’s even kissing another girl right before your very eyes in this trailer!”

          “If you’re someone who knows nothing about games, or The Last of Us 2, and you walk into JB. You turn and see that advertisement. What’s the impression you’re likely to form of the game? Will it be good or bad? Are you likely to have a positive impression of Ellie after seeing that ad?”

          Let me turn this around and ask how is this any different to some of the other JB reviews, for example the ones that give Anthem a huge serving? What’s the impression you’re likely to form of that game if you see this ad in JB? https://i.imgur.com/Px5NM7Z.jpg Will it be good or bad? What about this review of Metal Gear Survive? https://i.redd.it/zig5q5l5y9n01.jpg Are you likely to have a good or bad impression of the game after seeing that? It doesn’t matter that those examples haven’t used the words “angry” or “lesbian”, the intent is what’s important.

          • It’s enormously different from Anthem. The JB reviews there are just calling them bad game. That’s weird sometimes for a retailer to do, but that’s also part of their mix. If that’s how they want to advertise the product, they can.

            Here, they’re “advertising” the product by highlighting the main character’s sexuality. It’s not referencing microtransactions, or just saying it’s overhyped. It’s playing into a stereotype that goes back to the 1950s, even if the staffer didn’t mean for it to. And you can mention the E3 trailer, but if I’m a regular consumer and I go and pick up the box, you’re not going to find Ellie’s sexuality listed in the description. That’s something JB, by virtue of their staffer, opted to call out. You can’t say either of the Metal Gear Survive or Anthem reviews did that. The publishers might not like it, of course.

            Intent matters for individuals, but when it comes to companies and corporate ads, intent isn’t enough. That’s why codes of conduct are all written around what ordinary people on the street would think, because ads are meant to be seen by people who don’t have background knowledge. Especially something that’s going to be on the floor of one of the most popular retailers in Australia.

        • Her sexuality and anger are definitely both front and centre in the marketing….

          E3 trailer, picture of Ellie with another woman (the big nose girl) in the pose that suggests they are intimate, the descriptions of the game being about “Ellie’s relentless pursuit of vengeance”, etc etc.

          Maybe it breaches the advertising code of ethics, I have no idea. But to say it’s not front and centre is just false.

          • so what im getting from this is 3rd party can call games good or shit but dont you dare mention muh protected group.
            its good for one or good for none. angry lesbian sums up the game, its a fair call. it doesnt call angry people good or bad. doesnt call lesbians good or bad. ETC.

      • I would be sacked. if I wrote that at the hotel I work at. Without a question. I would be sacked , not just given a warning but sacked. Personally I found it offensive and I am not even gay

  • Imagine being in a coma for 20 years, waking up, finding out the Simpsons jokes about President Trump had come true, a Worldwide pandemic happened and then you lose the job you just got because Gay jokes aren’t tolerated anymore and nobody saw the humour in it.

    Poor guy, it must be hard being so out of touch with the world.

    • Interesting comment, I just asked my lebsian friend how offended she was by this.

      She took one look at it, laughed and went “accurate title”.

      • because one lesbian thinks it is okay, that makes it okay for everyone?

        I dont find it offensive I find it insulting to my intelligence, some pathetic person cant make a joke without it coming from a position of perpetuating a long held and insulting gender stereotype, that people who are part of the community fight and struggle with, every single day of their damn life.

        All for want? A cheap laugh?

        • Actually did ask her this and the reply was :

          “I wish it was socially acceptable for us to speak our minds and have opinions” she then went and asked her partner and a bunch of their friends and explained that none of them were offended by it and the consensus was a lot of the community wouldn’t be, however there would be many “allies” angry on their behalf that they’d have to “stand with by default”.

        • Could ask the same of you

          Because one person found it offensive it makes it not okay for everyone?

          What gives anyone the right to censor something based on their own perceived offense?

          If I find your comment offensive does that mean it should be removed?

          • It’s not an easy answer. But One is clearly design to make a statement about a marginised group, based on a Long held offensive stereotype. (One is which the word is used for no other reason than to demonise a particular group of people for your own petty amusement.

            The other is not.

          • @blakeavon cool.. so when can we expect your support in getting “white chicks” removed from Netflix? Or the upcoming sequel cancelled before it gets started?

            You know the movie…. Where two black dudes dress up as white women and spend an hour and a half doing nothing but using negative stereotypes “for no other reason than to demonise a particular group of people for your own petty amusement.”

            *Cough*

        • Asked two lesbians and one bisexual lady at work.

          One laughed, one smirked, one said ‘Nice’, none were offended.

          Showed a couple of straight people, got the same result, offense.

          Interesting results I thought. Are we actually too protective? Is this another version of the ‘white savior’ role?

          • It’s a weird one, looking at it, i knew people would get worked up over it, but when I ask myself why, It’s hard to say.

  • I guess “dirty depressing people getting their shit ruined” doesn’t quite fit on the box. /s

    Worded right, this could have been funny but this just comes off as cringey.

  • I’d like to hear from a lesbian, or an angry lesbian, about whether this offends them.
    Personally I think it’s funny but as a straight man I’m not really in a position to decide whether it’s offensive. Still plan to pick up the game on Friday and enjoy it.

    • So in your head, you think if a single lesbian finds it funny that means it is okay?

      If this is the type of thing that makes you laugh, maybe you should reexamine your humour. what does her being a Lesbian have to do with being angry? Why was the use of the word needed, even if it was Angry Woman, what has that got to do with anything?

      • My comment specified that I would like to hear from a lesbian, or an angry lesbian. Before I reply to your questions I would like to confirm that you meet these criteria.

          • Lesbehonest about this. This is arguably the biggest game release of the year featuring a gay female lead. This is a remarkable positive shift from even 10 years ago, and should be (is being!?) celebrated. I will show my support by buying the game, and fuck it, I’ll probably buy it from JB because in my straight male opinion this is a harmless joke of moderate funniness, and as has been rightfully acknowledged by other commentators the joke isn’t funny enough to warrant a second thought.

            On a side note – I believe that any multicultural society will fail without a degree of self-deprecating humor from EVERYONE IN IT. Fight me.

      • So only the opinions of people who find it offensive matter to you, Not the ones who don’t.

        In other words, you only seek those who reinforce your preconceived views and push away those who don’t.

        • @djbear I can’t see if this comment was a reply to me, but in case it is: let me clarify my position. I would genuinely like to hear the opinion of the LGBTQI+ community on whether they were offended or insulted by this, or indeed if they weren’t. And if they were, I would absolutely reconsider my position on it.

          In this case, the joke seems pretty benign to me. And from the (admittedly small and anecdotal) sample reported by other commentators here, it doesn’t seem to have rubbed anyone in the gay community the wrong way, if you’ll excuse the phrasing.

          • My comment was directed at Blakeavon.

            I actually agree with your statements doughboy.

            The new site comment formatting (Especially on mobile) makes it really hard to see who a comment is replying to. Might have to include an @ in future.

          • Also, we don’t get notifications on the homepage if someone replies to your comment.

            So the only way to know is to remember what articles you commented on and check back

        • @djbear Also, we don’t get notifications on the homepage if someone replies to your comment.

          So the only way to know is to remember what articles you commented on and check back

          and you cant reply 5 deep.

    • That’s pretty funny because the entire basis of the old angry lesbian joke was that lesbians need to shut up and yelling about every little thing that offends them. Granted it was always more of a dig at feminism and general protesting. It was an effective way to weaponise people’s mental image of feral, hairy armpit, man hating lesbians. Do you want to complain about me slapping your arse at work? Like one of those bushpigs? Or do you want to be a pretty girl and take it as a compliment?

      It’s obviously not super relevant to how it’s being used in this display but it’s a weird twist hearing insisting we need to hear from angry lesbians.

      • feral, hairy armpit, man hating lesbians.

        and whats changed? think the word feminist has a place in there somewhere. take down any thin or attractive female in favour of our ugly hairy fat lesbos.

  • I don’t think its offensive. But it’s not about whether it offends me, you, your friends or your lesbian friend.

    Its about the percentage we think that will walk past and laugh and say something degrading, like” haha, yeah, typical stupid lesbians, always angry”. JB perpetuates it with the ad. Probably that percentage is a little too high right now to do this.

    It’s also about how funny something is. This ain’t that funny. If you miss with something edgy, it hits the ground with a really loud thud. Feels awkwards …

    • I wish I could upvote this comment so hard, as it absolutely nails the problem.

      People aren’t “offended” over this. They’re insulted, because they know it will empower the kind of people who still think it’s funny to unironically call someone a “poofter” in public.

      • I remember being a kid and being ok with using gay as an all purpose insult because I felt like nobody was using it as a genuine slur. I was even defensive about it. Then I realised that a hell of a lot of people actually were deeply, violently homophobic and I don’t care enough about a weak joke to stand anywhere near those guys.

        I still think calling someone a poof is hilarious because it’s so ridiculously childish and stupid, but I can use my big boy brain to think up other funny things to call people. If I can’t well then I guess I’m just not funny.

  • It’s pretty clumsy in its attempt at humour. Ellie might very well be a lesbian, but having the entire game boiled down to Ellie being angry, and only referring to her by her sexuality, is just not that humourous. I guess it might be funny for the split second it takes you to actually think about it…

  • Is she very angry? Yes
    Is she a lesbian? Yes
    Is it a joke? Yes
    Is it funny? That’s subjective. Just like all humour. Some find it funny, some do not.

  • @dogbouy I never thought of Elle as lesbian being a major issue. Simply because I don’t care. I do not care who someone has sex with. I care about how a relationship affects the story. If that is lesbian I am happy ,if straight I am happy. I care if Elle is hurt no matter her preference

    • Same.

      Actually I replayed the DLC for the original: ‘Left Behind’ recently, and I’d forgotten there was a kiss scene in it. But I acknowledge it is important inclusion for other people.

  • Obviously this was a stupid thing to do. I don’t think anyone can argue with that. But damn we are sprinting towards a very bland and sanitised world.
    Looking forward to the Ghost of Tsushima reviews that criticise that games lack of diversity.

  • Funny. I don’t remember many Nathan Drake is a murderous hetero signs for UC4 and they put his wife in all the promo stuff. Very funny and strange how that panned out compared to this I think.

    • The cognitive load of the homepage is incredibly high – and I have an adblocker. Without one it’s quite painful to parse, and the interjected “gameplay” videos are incredibly intrusive. Brightcove sends my CPU to hell in a handbasket.
      I get it, you need ads to survive, but c’mon now.

        • wait now youre scaring me. id hate to see this site without an ad blocker. dont understand the approval process. the last website had a clear (yet annoyingly offset) layout. this is just all over the place so readers are even less likely to find the content. even a junior level web dev would see this as a massive step back.

          • Yeah, the ads aren’t even the problem right now. The layout is a mess. I don’t think I’ve visited a website in the last 10 years that has been such an eyesore.

          • It’s very clear they just got the work-experience kid with three months in a graphic design degree, to design the crap out of this with his seven year old copy of DreamWeaver he got off Piratebay.

            I mean, SURE they got emojis, woohoo, but this is a dumpster fire (U+1F525) of a system they have now…

            Even then that probably didn’t work either 🙁

  • We need Frankie Boyle on this.
    I understand the offense that could be taken. But it’s just a joke.
    I’m an overweight ginger, I hear jokes that I COULD take offense to every day. But they’re jokes.

    Here
    “What happens when you put a baby in a microwave?”
    “No idea, I was too busy masturbating”

    Offensive? Yep
    Funny? maybe
    True? not in the least

    Anyway, I gotta head off I’m getting a sunburn from the computer monitor

    • I don’t think there’s much of a maybe about dead baby jokes being funny. They stopped being funny the instant people realised nobody tells them to anyone who isn’t 100% ok with dead baby jokes. Then boring people came in and just ran the joke into the ground. They’re the ultimate ‘my friends and I have a really dark sense of humour’ alarm where you know you’re in for a solid half hour of pretending to be interested while they struggle to load old YouTube videos on their phone.

  • I don’t think it’s offensive in an objective sense. She is angry. And she’s a lesbian. Who cares? Pretty base kind of attempt at humour…

    Interesting choice of quote from Riley’s review though… considering it’s probably a decent indication they were bringing some baggage into the review.

  • Seems like a simple attempt at humour. She’s a lesbian and she’s angry. And that has been the message the game has had since it’s big E3 reveal.

  • It’s interesting. I recall a conversation I had with a middle aged gay friend of mine years back about the differences he saw in how people treated the label of their sexuality.

    For him, being gay, was about as important as his eye colour, or favorite resturant. He didn’t want being gay to be his defining trait. It wasn’t some badge of honor or anything special. It was just another part of the collection of traits that made him.

    At some point (obviously not yet), we’re going to ideally reach a point where a persons sexuality really isn’t a worthy talking point anymore. We’ll eventually reach a point where no one really cares what your sexuality is. It just won’t matter.

    So in that context, calling out Ellie’s sexuality is simply reductive. The fact she’s a lesbian has little to no bearing what so ever on her role in the story or her motiviations. It’d be like saying “Angry White Woman”. There’s so much more to her character than that.

    I welcome better representation in games, but continuing to wear them like some badge of honor is going to hurt the cause at some point. A great example for my money was Dorian from the Dragon Age games. Dorian was openly gay, but that was just a small part of what made him a great character.

    • you represent good points.

      but its [current year] the only thing people care about is labels. you dont win victim cards by standing idly by not telling the word youre gay.

    • I agree with your sentiments… The issue is though, that for a lot of people within these groups, that label is their entire identity, for some unknown reason…. If you don’t want people making such a big deal about it, don’t go making it a big deal of it yourself.

      In my group of friends, we had one guy (that was gay) that would consistently try and undermine or even cause division between us, for nothing other than beers and skittles… whenever someone tries calling him out on it, he’d hide behind his label (homosexual) as a means of shielding him from any criticism, because any and all criticism towards his attitude meant that you were attacking his sexuality.

      I see this often as a means of defence against criticism… Age, gender, sexuality, skin colour… No, most of the time you’re an asshole because you’re an asshole.

      But how can we move forward, where such things become as insignificant as say, being straight, or having brown eyes, when people rely on these labels as a means to get ahead?

  • I remember watching “The Birdcage” at the cinema many years ago – and in the moments when Nathan Lane’s character more than fulfilled the hysterical gay stereotype everyone laughed and chuckled – and so too did a handful of teenage girls behind me – but their laughter had a different tone, it was cruel and mocking and sneering. They missed the point of the self-deprecating humour. To them it was a much shallower comedy reinforcing their narrow stereotypes.

    So this is complicated isn’t it? Same material – different perspectives – different kinds of enjoyment and offense. It reminds me of Apu in the Simpsons – stereotype yes (albeit mostly a highly positive one compared to the fat white US male one in Homer Simpson), but Apu was weaponised by many an idiotic teenage bully, and that was the lived experience of many now opposing Apu.
    Do we oppose Apu and Nathan Lane and angry Ellie because they give ammunition to idiotic juvenile bullies – or do we oppose the idiotic juvenile bullies directly?

    As for the actual issue here – doing this at work. Don’t do this at work folks, unless you are being paid specifically for comedy. Work needs to be a bland, all inclusive environment, regardless of what gives us a chuckle after hours.

    • Oh my gosh! The Birdcage is one of my all time favourite movies! Absolutely enjoyed every moment of it! So much so, I actually went back to watch the French original… Which was also quite entertaining.

      You hit the nail on the head… It’s all subjective…
      But ultimately, where do we draw the line? Do you see people getting up in arms about the consistently overused “bumbling dad” trope in sitcoms? I laugh at it, cos at times I can actually see me doing the exact same thing (the episode where of Modern Family where Phil Dunfy keeps getting sidetracked trying to fix/find something, continually, is me to a tee). But I know there are some people out there that would look at it in a similar light to the teen girls you speak of….

  • Well that’s my

    ‘ITS JUST A JOKE’

    and

    “WELL I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND WHO WASN’T OFFENDED’

    bingo taken care of REAL quick.

    You really got to wonder at the kind of people who say that. I mean do you not cringe when you see other people do it or do you truly live in such a bubble of oblivious privilege that you nod along to some other numpty doing it?

    • Translation of Worrito’s comment:

      “Only the offended matter to me, If you don’t find something offensive you don’t matter to me”

      • That has literally nothing to do with what I said, but since you seem to be easily triggered I can kind of see how you jumped into imagining that.

        But to answer your somewhat garbled statement, I am not especially concerned about the feelings of people choking on their own privilege and being jerks in the process, no.

        I mean I guess it’s important someone cares about them, since they are obviously miserable, but not really my cup of tea. And since they seem to have professional defenders of bigotry like yourself, my input isn’t needed.

        I prefer people who aren’t, you know, fatuous assholes who enjoy punching down because their daddies didn’t give them positive modelling.

        Those are your people and you’re welcome to them 🙂

  • I didn’t find it offensive because it’s literally true. Ellie is angry. Ellie is a lesbian. Ellie is an angry lesbian.
    However, I think the best comments on this article are from finalfight, quietwulf and simocrates. It’s not a good joke as it could be seen in that dismissive way, and that gays are more than just their sexuality (except the poorly written ones). And I can’t turn down a good Simpsons reference.

    This article is 4 days old and I missed it and I blame this new design.

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