Markham, Ontario-based Big-O-Tree Games, whose name is likely a play on the word “bigotry,” posted the following statement on its website Thursday:
“After careful consideration and taking the time to listen to the publics opinion we have decided it’s not in anyone’s best interest to release Dirty Chinese Restaurant. We would like to make 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.
“Out of respect we will begin removing all marketing media pertaining to DCR off our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. These accounts will also be removed. We ask the press to please respect our privacy at this time as we begin the task of removing all our content.”
The game, as originally promoted, centered on a character named “Wong Fu,” who was running the sketchiest restaurant imaginable. The developers said that players would score points by evading taxes and immigration officials and by saving food costs via dumpster diving or chasing after dogs and cats with a cleaver.
Although the game was first announced in 2016, it came under fire late last month when Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) denounced it on Facebook.
“This game uses every negative and demeaning stereotype that I have ever come across as a Chinese American,” she wrote. “From the names used for the characters of the game, to the types of food they cook, to the disturbing depiction of their faces, this game epitomizes racism against Asian Americans.”
Meng is now happy that the game will not be released, but in a statement on Thursday, she emphasized that it never should have been created in the first place.
“Racism must be called out, whenever and wherever we see it,” Meng said. “I want to thank everyone who joined me and spoke out against the demeaning and negative stereotypes depicted in the video game, Dirty Chinese Restaurant.
“While I’m pleased that Big-O-Trees Games has decided not to release its racist video game, it is disturbing that something like this would have progressed as far as it did. I hope this company does not live up to its name in future endeavors.”
George Lambropoulos, a self-described game developer to whom the Big-O-Tree domain is registered, told HuffPost last month that the game was “mainly satire and comedy influenced by classic politically incorrect shows such as: ‘South Park,’ ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Sanford & Son,’ ‘Family Guy,’ ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Chappelle’s Show.’”
He added, “Our game in no way is meant to be an accurate representation of Chinese culture.”
Thursday’s announcement suggests the game’s developers have started to realize racism is no joke.
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