FaZe Clan Fans Rally Around Member Disavowing Its Gay Pride Post

FaZe Clan Fans Rally Around Member Disavowing Its Gay Pride Post
Image: FaZe Clan / Kotaku

FaZe Clan is one of the biggest names in gaming. The group of professional influencers counts Drake, Pitbull, Snoop Dogg, and many others among its investors. Its CEO has described it as “the Dallas Cowboys meets Supreme meets MTV.” And currently its social media mentions are a full-on culture war as fans defend a screenshot of one of its members disavowing the company’s recent Pride Month support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Happy Pride Month!” FaZe Clan tweeted on June 1 alongside a rainbow-coloured version of the group’s logo. “Sending love to our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and community.” Some fans immediately cheered the sentiment on, but plenty of others disparaged it, sharing sentiments that veered from “Another L from FaZe Clan” into more explicit homophobia.

Things went even more downhill after FaZe member Talal “Virus” Almalki remarked that he didn’t agree with the clan’s Pride statement. “Just to clarify that I don’t support any kind of LGBTQ or anything similar even if ‘FaZe’ does,” he wrote in a now-deleted quote-tweet. “I’m a Muslim.”

Almalki is a top-tier Call of Duty player with over a million subscribers on YouTube. He’s also FaZe’s first signing in Saudi Arabia, a country that has a long track record of human rights abuses and where being gay is criminalized.

There are of course plenty of self-identifying Muslims who support LGBTQ+ rights, just as there are many self-identifying Christians who do, but that didn’t stop lots of FaZe clans from latching onto screenshots of Almalki’s post to defend him.

Screenshot: Twitter / KotakuScreenshot: Twitter / Kotaku

“WTF is this?” one person referencing Almalki’s comment asked FaZe Clan’s account. “I don’t agree with how he went about it, but it’s his religion and we have to respect it just like people apart of the lgbtq community should be respected,” another replied.

This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone who follows gaming, including the messy fandoms cultivated by its biggest influencers. But it makes even the most mealy-mouthed show of support for things like Pride Month ring hollow when the influencers then stay silent on the antipathy generated and shared by their own fans.

Whether it’s ambient racism in the Twitch chat, or homophobia in the Twitter comments, silence can be interpreted as complicity. How else to explain why so many apparent FaZe Clan supporters were surprised by its Pride tweet to begin with?

Over a day later, there’s still no follow-up comment by either FaZe Clan or Almalki. Some FaZe fans are even accusing the former of censoring the latter. Almalki did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Kotaku. FaZe Clan declined to comment but did not contest the veracity of Almalki’s deleted tweet.

FaZe Clan is no stranger to controversy. A year ago it had to exile one member and suspend others when an alleged crypto scheme they were pushing went bust. But the group has always aspired to being more than just internet celebrities who are one bad day away from a heated gamer moment.

Last October, FaZe Clan announced its plan to ride the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) hype train all the way to becoming a $US1 billion publicly-traded company. The deal was supposed to close in the first half of 2022. It is now June and FaZe Clan still isn’t trading on the NASDAQ, while SPAC hype is cratering. The group has until February 2023 to pull the deal off before it falls through and the money goes back to investors.

 

Comments

  • // silence can be interpreted as complicity. //

    Yet it typically only ever is interpreted like that by deeply slimy individuals looking to manifest negative implications out of absolutely nothing. As decent, reasonable people don’t scream “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!” at others for not jumping in to open their mouths about anything and everything anytime the wind changes directions.

    Especially when an awful lot of the time celebrities of any kind get ‘politely’ told to shut their mouths and stay in their lane when they do say something.

    It’s amazing really, because the article was relatively fine until the author apparently hit the big red ‘Peak Kotaku performance!’ button and drove off it right off the road, through a bunch of fences, and right into a sewerage pit. Bystanders at the scene on the news would then go on to swear it looked like the driver was aiming for the sewage the whole time.

    Now let me borrow the Kotaku performance booster for a second… Because there’s been some really awful things happen in the world lately, some have even had video games get linked to them. Yet Kotaku used its position of power and authority with its platform to say NOTHING.

    So if we consult the Kotaku connect-the-dots book, I guess we have to interpret that to mean Kotaku and it’s authors are perfectly fine with some pretty awful things then, right? I mean I’m sure that’s not a completely unreasonable (or batshit insane) assumption or anything.

    • ‘kotaku’ and ‘authority’ are two words fundamentally incompatible with each other

      It is worth noting Ian Walker’s silence this year on the illegal Israeli apartheid state’s occupation and violence towards the Palestinian people on the day of Al Nakba, in which a journalist was killed, compared to his virtual signalling against the “fascist” ethnostate of Israel last year.

  • wtf I love Faze Almalki now????? MBS please send of of that SFD money to Faze Clan. Preferably without an hit-squad attached.

    “There are of course plenty of self-identifying Muslims who support LGBTQ+ rights…”

    IDK man that doesn’t really stack up as “plenty” against the at-least 1 billion others.

  • “silence can be interpreted as complicity”

    If this is true, Ethan is therefore complicit in the following things given his silence on them:

    – International terrorism
    – Child Trafficking
    – CSA
    – Drug Trafficking
    – War Crimes
    – Elder abuse

    Ethan has been silent on these things, therefore he is complicit with them. After all, Silence is complicity!

    • Ethan’s also been really silent on MTG knowingly having a rapist art director who was preying on his female colleagues and hasn’t said anything about Kotaku doing those shill posts for MTG. Guess he must be on board with it then, according to his own logic.

  • Hmmm, so a company that doesn’t want to change their twitter pic because they want to continue making money there… Kotaku sleeps.

    A guy who actually lives in the country and feels compelled to disavow a message made on his behalf which could get him killed…Kotaku senses real shit?!?!?

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