Fortnite’s latest event, Rainbow Royale, is supposed to be a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. But elsewhere, developer Epic Games chose not to suspend a popular creator for more than a few hours after discovering a history of homophobia. While the influencer has been reinstated, the situation underlines what some see as a disparity between what the major corporation claims to care about and the actual actions it’ll take to uphold those beliefs.
Rainbow Royale introduces a bunch of free, rainbow-themed items to both the Battle Royale and Creative modes. Several tracks by LGBTQ+ musicians, including Lil Nas X and Big Freedia, have also been added to the in-game radio.
The well-known Fortnite player involved in this situation (who Kotaku will not name due to their young age) is known for creating one of the game’s most popular user maps. They first landed in hot water with a since-deleted comment lamenting the Rainbow Royale event on Twitter. When pushed on the matter, they doubled down, saying, “I’m not a fanatic, but this is against nature,” seemingly in reference to the event’s LGBTQ+ theme.
The influencer did not respond to a request for comment.
Ben Walker, lead writer for YouTube channel Top5Gaming, pointed out the Fortnite creator also liked an image posted in response to the event by another Twitter user that reads “Fuck faggots, all my homies hate LGBT.”
Although Epic made no public statement on the situation, Twitter chatter indicated that the creator’s map — a popular battleground highlighted by Epic just last month during its Cosmic Summer event — was eventually disabled. The creator also had their Support-A-Creator membership suspended, meaning they could no longer earn a percentage of a given sale when fans used a unique referral code in the item shop
This prompted two apologies from the creator, one contained to a single tweet and a slightly meatier mea culpa uploaded to Twitlonger. It seems that the Twitlonger is a response to criticism of the first, the latter of which we’ve included in full below:
“I am sorry for everyone I have said about the Rainbow Royale event and the Lgbtq community. I was not trying to hurt anyone but express my opinion about the event. I understand it is hurtful to the community and deeply sorry to everyone I have hurted. The reason behind it was because it is against my religion and I was grown up that way. I will try better in the future and try to continue to strive as a creator. I have much to learn and correct. I hope you guys give me a second chance as everyone should have.”
A little over an hour later, the creator claimed that Epic had reinstated both their map and Support-A-Creator code (which Kotaku has confirmed), eliciting a harsh outcry from those who considered his apology unsatisfactory and the punishment too lax.
“Simply disappointed that a company during its own ‘LGBTQ celebration event’ let off a featured and highly-affiliated Fortnite creator — who tweeted anti-gay rhetoric and liked slur-filled tweets — with a slap on the wrist for a few hours,” Ben Walker wrote on Twitter. “Just disappointed.”
“Disappointed in Epic Games right now,” Tiny, another featured Fortnite creator, added. “It has touched my heart to see the Rainbow Royale event live. But now I feel laughed at. Do better.”
“[I]t seems Epic cares too much about the plays his map receives than doing what is right,” wrote Echo, a third creator. “Disappointing stuff.”
A rep for Epic declined to comment.
Clarification 5:14 p.m: The headline has been changed to better reflect the subject of the story.