Military Shooter Launch Event Turns Into Racist Shit-Show

Military Shooter Launch Event Turns Into Racist Shit-Show
Image: CI Games

An event organised to celebrate the release of military shooter Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 had journalists and influencers take part in a mock training program based around killing “enemies” and “bad guys” who were dressed up to appear Arab, according to a report published last night by The Gamer.

The event took place a day after Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2’s release on June 5 at a facility for training police and military personnel in San Diego, California, owned by a company called Strategic Operations, Inc. According to The Gamer report’s author, Eric Switzer, close to a dozen games media people were taken there from their hotel by bus, where they then proceeded in a series of combat training simulations run by the events group Incredible Adventures.

“As we run drills, no one refers to the people we’re learning to kill as Muslim, Middle Eastern, or Arab,” writes Switzer. “Any time the instructors refer to them, they say enemies, bad guys, or the other guys.”

He goes on:

Of course, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that “the bad guys” are most certainly Arabs here. At the end of the day, we run a combat scenario where we trade fire with role-players dressed in white robes and keffiyehs. The actors are all white, I think, and I can’t decide what’s worse: white people dressing up like Arabs to be shot at, or subjecting actual Arab people to this experience.

Switzer writes that at the end of the event, “The participants are asked to stand in a row facing the role-players with their fists raised in anger, while the role-players are instructed to put their hands in the air and ululate like a jihadist.”

The training area, which Strategic Operations, Inc. describes as a “replicating a Third World Village,” featured run-down buildings and rotten meat, which Switzer describes as “the Middle-East as we’re often shown it via Western media — a gross, twisted doppelganger that doesn’t actually represent life in that part of the world at all.” It was also in the vicinity of a flag that read “Trump 2024: The Revenge Tour,” flying over one of the lots main buildings. Neither Strategic Operations, Inc. nor Incredible Adventures immediately responded to a request for comment.

Not everyone was put off by the event, however. “This is absolutely the best experience I’ve ever had at a press event period,” influencer HipHopGamer said in a video recording from the day. “This makes you want to play the game, buy the game, talk about the game, experience the game, and everything else about the game. If any other company out there want to step their game up I’m telling you right now you’ve got to understand what’s being done here. ”

CI Games, the makers of the Sniper Ghost Warrior series, apologised for the event today on Twitter. “CI Games abhors racism of any kind, and as a Polish Studio based in Warsaw, we have absolutely no affiliation with any US political party or movement,” the studio writes. The statement goes on to say that Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is a “purely fictional narrative, based in a purely fictional setting.”

“We try very hard to ensure we’re avoiding stereotypes or representing cultures in any negative way,” the studio writes. “Respect and tolerance are keystones of our company’s culture and we were distressed to discover that an event meant to be fun and engaging for participants had instead caused offence for some attendees.”

CI Games did appear to be aware of the general outlines of what was planned for the event. The studio wrote that it had asked the company running the event to change the outfits of enemies to match those that appear in the game and which were designed not to be references to any particular group. “We were informed that in order to preserve the authenticity of their training event, this request was declined,” wrote CI Games. The studio appears to have allowed the event to go on anyway, but there were no developers there due to the ongoing pandemic. CI Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kotaku was also invited to attend the event, but in general rarely participates in press junkets organised and paid for by PR. Evolve PR was the company that first reached out to both Kotaku and The Gamer about participating in the June 5 Sniper Ghost Warrior event, but according to Switzer, it was UberStrategists that coordinated and facilitated the trip.

“We weren’t involved in the planning of the physical event itself,” a spokesperson for Evolve PR told Kotaku in an email. “We’ve read the story and apologised to Eric as well. Had we known the specifics, we would not have participated in inviting anyone to the event.”

Following the publication of The Gamer’s article, head of UberStrategists Mario Kroll briefly liked a tweet by a self-identified veteran of the Iraq war defending the setup of the event as being “true to life.” A subsequent tweet in the thread went on to call Switzer a “crybaby.” Kroll declined a request for comment and instead directed Kotaku back to CI Games.

Games, along with popular Western media more generally, have had a long history of anti-Arab and Islamophobia depictions. These issues were recently brought back into the spotlight following the news that documentary action shooter Six Days In Fallujah had been revived. It depicts one of the most gruesome battles of the US invasion of Iraq, but predominantly from the point of view of US service men and women who were laying siege to the city.

Comments

  • whats worse? shooting white people or shooting terrorists? must be so hard to be a leftist, constantly struggling with who is more a victim.

    • I’m pretty sure it’s the people living in those Middle Eastern countries that are considered the victims, generally.

      • We can all thank the American government for that as well.

        That being said, in this instance it really does sound like the PR company responsible for the event itself was extremely racist. I don’t know why they wouldn’t just get everyone in military fatigues and do the standard paintball/laser event. I think the authenticity for a fictional piece of media will survive in this instance.

    • Whenever you wonder if a right winger might have a point, just remember that they are so ill informed about the basics of left wing political ideologies that they say things like lawlorz.

      There’s plenty of legitimate criticism to be made about the left, but it sure as hell isn’t coming from the right.

      • “so ill informed about the basics of left wing political ideologies” awkward moment when the reason for that is because the left can’t actually decide on a coherent and sound ideology.

        Especially when the entire basis of said ideology revolves around:
        1) Denying historical leftist “bad things” and people and governments, and then either incorrectly label them as “right-wing”, or pretend they don’t exist.
        2) Blame everything bad in history on “wypipo”, to the point where only white people are bad and if other people did it, it’s either “better” or, once again, it doesn’t exist. 2 great examples, Slavery and Gender inequality.
        3) Being openly hypocritical, and hiding behind shields of stipulative definitions, changed definitions or flat out saying “I can’t be because I’m not straight, white, Christian or male, and that absolves me from anything I’ve said that could be construed”
        4) Arbitrary ranking of who is most oppressed by previously stated “straight, white, Christian males”.

        Left wing ideologists are ill-informed on left wing ideology because they can’t even agree on what it entails. Except for when they do… *cough* Mao *cough* Stalin *cough* Kim Il-Sung

          • I’d also like to say that “racist shit-show” is intentionally inflammatory. Rustled jimmies results in clicks and ad revenue. I’d say we’re all being played by that dragon, media.

        • Both nuffman and lawlorz didn’t bother debating the merits of this case, they just fell back to BLAARGGHH the left and stalin and mao or something.

          Because as we know, as soon as you have some kind of “woke” view on racism that’s basically full communism and gulags and stuff.

          Like, this basically boils down to arab people and others being upset with such a portrayal. That could be something to debate. But you have gone, in a couple of posts to the entire left is whatever and oh me poor me I’m the victim.

          • “Both nuffman and lawlorz didn’t bother debating the merits of this case”

            My comment was a direct response to someone, who already wasn’t “debating the merits of this case”.

            My comment was specific to that person and wasn’t directed at the article. Not a hard concept to wrap one’s head around.

            Just like how this comment is specific to you and once again not directed towards the content of the article.

    • as it must be hard to be someone who uses the word ‘leftists’ and still tries to still sound wise.

    • It’s pretty evident you’re a faux conservative from this statement alone.

      See, I’m conservative. One of the most fundamental basic principles of classic conservatism is respect for the individual, and respect for societal institutions.

      The very fact you aren’t offended by blatant displays of racism demonstrates how far from conservative and right wing you really are.

      This whole event is an utter insult to the institution of the military, because it characterises it as a tool for white supremacists. It turns what should be an apolitical organisation in to a dog whistling shitshow, which any actual conservative would find beyond reason and sense.

      This undermines the value and role of the military as an unfortunately necessary part of global affairs. Racism and bigotry ruin the culture, independence, and ability of the military to uphold standards because its members lack basic respect for human dignity.

      The fact that you think “leftists” are the only ones to be insulted by this demonstrates a severe and fundamental lack of understanding about what being conservative actually means.

      You’re just a racist, possibly a fascist given your disregard for opposing ideas, and generally shouldn’t go trying to criticise political positions when your closest political model is literally Nazi Germany.

  • “The studio wrote that it had asked the company running the event to change the outfits of enemies to match those that appear in the game and which were designed not to be references to any particular group. “We were informed that in order to preserve the authenticity of their training event, this request was declined,””

    That’s the truth of it exposed, right there:
    “Oh, a release party for our game? That’s cool. Just please make it authentic to our carefully-represented game enemies, and not stereotypically fucking racist.”
    “Sorry, can’t do that champ, if we did that it wouldn’t be true to the spirit of what we’re trying to do… which is fucking racism.”

  • Weird they’d have white people dressing up for those roles, but is the author living in an alternative universe where ISIS and decades of armed conflict in the Middle East doesn’t exist or something? Give it a few more years and putting Nazis in games is going to offend someone at this rate

  • “The actors are all white, I think, and I can’t decide what’s worse: white people dressing up like Arabs to be shot at”

    Not sure if the authors conveniently forgot about all the white people recruited by middle eastern terrorists groups, or is just pretending to maintain the faux outrage

    • Do those white people dress in traditional middle eastern garments and do stereotypical middle-eastern-terrorist singing and dancing or what?

      I love it when the racists are so outraged and all they can do is pretend it’s the people saying “don’t be racist” are the ones shitting their pants.

      • From what I’ve seen, from the European terrorists who went over, they do engage in the local culture and dress just as much as the non-white terrorists since that’s what’s available. That being said, this event was clearly racially motivated since they entirely disregarded the request of the game company for game accurate enemies.

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