“1/2 It’s come to our attention that a gauntlet in Destiny 2 shares elements with a hate symbol. It is not intentional. We are removing it.” wrote the developer on Twitter. “2/2 Our deepest apologies. This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this. We renounce hate in all forms.”
1/2 It’s come to our attention that a gauntlet in Destiny 2 shares elements with a hate symbol. It is not intentional. We are removing it.
— Bungie (@Bungie) September 12, 2017
The controversy began this morning with the above tweets from Bungie, and then spread to the Destiny subreddit. It was there a user found the gauntlets in question. The Road Complex AA1 gauntlets bear a strong resemblance to the logo of the flag of “Kekistan,” a fictional nation used as a symbol by some in the so-called “alt-right” political movement.
But what is Kekistan?
Kekistan is a fictional nation with origins on the /pol 4chan message board. Originally a tongue-in-cheek moniker for posters on the board it has been spun out into an entire mythos, including worship of an ancient Egyptian frog-god named Kek.
Kek is in turn derived from Pepe the Frog, the famous meme that has become a prevalent symbol in the alt-right.
Pepe was originally created by cartoonist Matt Furie for his “Boys Club” comic strip. Pepe in that iteration was not a political symbol. Over the last two years Pepe has been co-opted by all manner of trolls, “shitposters,” and those with legitimately hateful beliefs. The Anti-defamation League has designated Pepe to be a hate-symbol.
Confusion remains about whether or not Pepe or Kekistan are in fact hate-symbols created by white supremacists or if they’re just internet jokes co-opted by those with extremist views. Given the prevalence of trolling in internet culture, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reckon the difference.
The flag itself is a symbol of that as its based on a German military flag used in World War II. Just an edgy joke to trigger a knee-jerk response? Or a stealthy invocation of Nazism? It depends on who you ask.
As for Bungie one could hardly blame them for wanted to put this fire out fast. The last thing their new game needs is a politically charged controversy, especially one with touchstones to racially charged themes.