Playtonic Flooded with Yooka-Laylee Refund Requests Over JonTron’s Removal
Playtonic revealed yesterday that it would remove Jon “JonTron” Jafari’s voice role in Yooka-Laylee in a content patch, following the YouTuber’s controversial remarks regarding race and immigration. However, the studio is now facing an influx of complaints regarding this decision from its Kickstarter backers and Steam users, with many requesting refunds as a result of the developer’s decision to not have a man who erroneously claimed that “wealthy blacks commit more crime than poor whites” represent their company.
JonTron, who has over 3 million subscribers on YouTube, came under fire earlier this month after appearing in a live streamed debate with Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, in which he made a number of hugely ill-informed remarks regarding race and immigration. During the stream he attempted to link crime committed by African-Americans with crime in Africa, seemingly insinuating that black people were somehow predisposed to criminal behavior, made the aforementioned claim that wealthy black people commit more crime than poor white people despite lacking evidence to support this statement, and also said that if immigrants “assimilated” they would “enter the gene pool eventually.”
The YouTuber was widely criticized for what many believed was him parroting white nationalist talking points, though he later argued against this suggestion in a video statement, in which he claimed that his views had been “misconstrued.” However, during this statement he failed to directly address any of the comments or claims that had led to the controversy, instead suggesting that those who had listened to the stream had came to the wrong conclusion about his beliefs, despite him being very vocal about them throughout the duration of the hour-long debate. He tweeted about Playtonic’s decision to remove him from the game shortly following the company’s statement, saying it was “unfortunate” but that he would “wish them the best” for the game’s launch:
Unfortunate to see Playtonic remove me from Yooka Laylee, but I understand their decision. I wish them the best with their launch!
— JonTron (@JonTronShow) March 23, 2017
Playtonic’s decision to remove JonTron from Yooka-Laylee was unsurprising, but many of the game’s backers have deemed this as a form of “censorship,” as though it is JonTron’s right to be included in a game after comparing immigration in the US to South Africa under apartheid. As such, the game’s Kickstarter and Steam page have been flooded with requests for refunds.
You can view a selection of these comments below:
Many of those commenting are highlighting their very tenuous grasp on what does/does not constitute as censorship, with the common theme among these complaints being that Playtonic is somehow censoring JonTron by way of no longer wanting him to appear in Yooka-Laylee. According to these criticisms, Playtonic should remain beholden to its decision to include JonTron in its game, even after he’s made a series of sweeping, ignorant statements regarding entire races of people. Fortunately that isn’t the way the world works, and freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. While YouTube may afford JonTron the ability to keep his job in the public eye even after his racially charged comments — a privilege that isn’t available to any other celebrities away from the internet — that doesn’t mean that other companies need to be complicit with his ideologies, too.