Look. As a queer woman, I don’t really expect (or even want) much from game developers out of Pride. Maybe we’ll get a little in-game badge, or some nice art of all the game’s confirmed queer characters. But then there’s DC punch-up Injustice 2, whose mobile version chose to celebrate Pride by, err, challenging its players to beat up a bisexual character.
That sure was a choice, I guess?
For a while now, botanical supervillain Poison Ivy has been portrayed as canonically bisexual, and has been increasingly paired up with Harley Quinn in recent years. In a sort of roundabout way of representing this relationship, NetherRealm (which handles both the PC/Console and Mobile versions of the DC fighting game) offered Injustice 2 Mobile players increasing amounts of Quinn and Ivy costume tokens if they collectively pummelled the everlasting crap out of the latter.
It is, as one comment under a now-deleted promotional Tweet (via Kotaku) remarked, “fucking hilariously tone deaf” to celebrate pride by enacting violence against queer people. The community had reportedly made it to 175,000 takedowns before NetherRealm began pulling its promotions, and the studio has since apologised for any “inappropriate and insensitive” associations surrounding the challenge.
pic.twitter.com/jZejuTr1JfJune 4, 2021
At the end of the day, the whole situation is just a textbook example of pinkwashing—the act of corporations adopting activist terms for their own profit. Injustice 2 Mobile offers these kinds of challenges all the time. It’s just that, in this case, someone decided to slap a reference to Pride without giving any thought to the optics of battering a bi woman.
Maybe stick to just giving folks a wee rainbow icon next time, yeah?