The release of the game Dirty Chinese Restaurant has been cancelled after it was slammed for being extremely racist. Developed by Big-O-Tree Games, the mobile game was criticised by many in the Asian-American community, including a United States congresswoman.
While other games, like Call of Duty: WW2 and Mafia 3 have chosen to tackle racism head-on, Dirty Chinese Restaurant is a title that embraces and upholds racist stereotypes instead of critiquing them.
Dirty Chinese Restaurant Racism Controversy
I wish I could say that I was shocked that there is a new video game soon to be released called "Dirty Chinese…
According to its (now deleted) announcement trailer, Dirty Chinese Restaurant was set to include two characters named Wang Fu and Wong Fu as they managed a Chinese restaurant. Leaning heavily on the negative beliefs of Asian people, the game saw players try and capture stray animals for meat, have run-ins with immigration and other generally stereotypical gameplay actions.
The mobile game, which had been set to release on iOS and Android, was heavily criticised by community activist Karlin Chan after Chan saw the trailer on YouTube. United States congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), also took to Facebook to speak out against the game. Meng said that the title “epitomizes racism against Asian Americans” and urged iOS and Android platform holders Apple and Google not to publish the game “or any other game that glorifies in hurting any community.”
— Karlin Chan 陳家齡 (@Karlin_C) September 27, 2017
Big-O-Tree Games had defended Dirty Chinese Restaurant, saying that it is just a “satire and comedy influenced by the classic politically incorrect shows we grew up watching” such as South Park and it hadn’t been designed to accurately portray the Chinese community.
But today the company announced that it had cancelled the planned release of the game after “taking the time to listen to the publics [sic] opinion”.
The developer also offered a “sincere and formal apology to the Chinese community and wish to assure them that this game was not created with an intentional interest of inflicting harm or malice against Chinese culture”. It has also begun to remove all media regarding the game including the trailer that Chan viewed, and Big-O-Tree’s social media accounts have also been taken down.
Racism must be called out, whenever and wherever we see it. I want to thank everyone who joined me and spoke out against…
In response to the announcement, Meng posted on Facebook thanking everyone for joining her in calling out the racist stereotypes of Dirty Chinese Restaurant. Although she is “pleased” the developer chose not to release the game, the congresswoman said that “it is disturbing that something like this would have progressed as far as it did.”
Others were also hesitant of the developer’s actions, noting that it’s unlikely that the game would have been permitted for release on iOS and Android anyway. The Apple App Store states that “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content” is not allowed, while Google Play does not permit “apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin…”
For now, it seems that Big-O-Tree has understood the severity of this and that making such harmful content isn’t okay, even in the name of comedy. Hopefully in the absence of Dirty Chinese Restaurant, other developers won’t aim to fill that satirical void.
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