YouTube star JonTron has been the subject of much controversy recently, due to a series of insensitive racial comments that he made on Twitter and during an appearance on a live show with Destiny, a fellow YouTuber. His views on immigration and cultural assimilation have been perceived as racist by many fans, and as a result, he has received a lot of backlash, even losing over 10,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. Earlier today, JonTron received the worst hit yet, when Playtonic Games announced that it would be removing JonTron’s voice work from its debut title, Yooka-Laylee, as the company did not wish to be associated with his personal views.
Jon Jafari, more commonly known as JonTron,
was first invited to voice a character in Yooka-Laylee a few years ago, as a thank-you for showing support for the Kickstarter campaign that funded the game. Jon maintained a good relationship with Playtonic Games until last week, when he made a comment on Twitter that implied that he believed that immigrants to the United States were “invaders” who held contempt for the US and its people. The situation got worse the next day, when Jon appeared on a live stream with Destiny, another well-known gamer. Jon and Destiny debated for over two hours, mostly about race and immigration, and Jon made several unpopular comments, including the claim that mass Mexican migration to the United States was a form of “reconquista,” a retaking of American cultural values.
Playtonic responded to all of this in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz:
“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. 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.”
— Playtonic Games
responded to Playtonic’s announcement rather gracefully, respecting the company’s decision to leave him out of Yooka-Laylee and wishing the team good luck with the game’s launch.
What do you guys think? Do you feel that JonTron deserves all this backlash for his comments? Was Playtonic right to cut him out of the game because of the controversy? Sound off in the comments below!