JonTron Removed as Yooka-Laylee Voice Actor Due to Controversy
Jon “JonTron” Jafari will no longer be a voice actor in the upcoming video game Yooka-Laylee, with developer Playtonic confirmed that it had removed him from the position as a result of his recent controversial remarks.
JonTron was previously scheduled to voice an unknown character in the game, with him having previously expressed his admiration for its spiritual predecessor Banjo-Kazooie. He also appeared in a playthrough of the classic Nintendo 64 game with its composer, Grant Kirkhope, on the Game Grumps YouTube channel that he was formerly a part of.
— Playtonic (@PlaytonicGames) February 16, 2015
— JonTron (@JonTronShow) February 16, 2015
However, recent remarks made by the YouTuber in a live stream with Steven “Destiny” Bonnell have caused Playtonic to sever ties with him. In the stream, JonTron — who has over 3 million subscribers on the video-sharing site — made the erroneous claim that “wealthy blacks commit more crime than poor whites,” attempted to make a connection between crimes committed by Africans and African-Americans, while saying of immigrants: “If they assimilated, they would enter the gene pool eventually.” He later released a statement claiming that his comments had been “misconstrued,” while backpedaling on a number of claims he had made during the stream.
In a statement released to GamesIndustry.biz, a spokesperson for Playtonic said: “We recently became aware of comments made by voice artist JonTron after development on Yooka-Laylee had been completed. JonTron is a talented video presenter who we were initially, two years ago, happy to include as a voice contributor in our game. However, in light of his recent personal viewpoints we have made the decision to remove JonTron’s inclusion in the game via a forthcoming content update.”
Playtonic continued: “We would like to make absolutely clear that we do not endorse or support JonTron’s personal viewpoints and that, as an external fan contributor, he does not represent Playtonic in any capacity. Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy. As such, we deeply regret any implied association that could make players feel anything but 100% comfortable in our game worlds, or distract from the incredible goodwill and love shown by our fans and Kickstarter backers.”
Yooka-Laylee is set to be released on April 11, so it’s likely that JonTron would have only had a minor voice role in the game given the swiftness with which his contributions have been removed.