tom clancy's elite squad

Ubisoft Apologizes, Removes Black Power Fist From Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad

The company used a raised black fist as a symbol for the game's villainous terrorist organization.
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French gaming giant Ubisoft has issued an apology after equating the iconic Black power fist with a fictional terrorist organization in their new game Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. The game is the latest in Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s franchise, a popular series of tactical shooter games where players do battle against terrorists across the globe.

In Elite Squad, players face off against anarchist group UMBRA, which translates to “shadow”. The intro video opens with the words, “The world is in an alarming state. Wars, corruption, and poverty have made it more unstable than ever. As the situation keeps worsening, anger is brewing. From between the cracks, a new threat has emerged to take advantage of escalating civil unrest. They are known as UMBRA, a faceless organization that wants to build a new world order. They claim to promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support; while behind the scenes, UMBRA organizes deadly terrorist attacks to generate even more chaos and weaken governments.”

Wow, they might as well call the game Tom Clancy’s Antifa Squad. The video eerily parrots right-wing talking points about Black Lives Matter protesters and advocates. Interspersed in the video are soldiers taking aim at a crowd of civilians resembling the BLM protests currently happening across the globe.


Many called out Ubisoft on social media for the offensive imagery which aligns the Black power fist with a fictional terrorist organization:

Ubisoft issued an apology, calling the image “insensitive and harmful in both its inclusion and how it was portrayed,” and promised to remove the image of the Black power fist in their next title update:

But this apology and the removal of the fist doesn’t change the very basis of the game: that fascism is good and protesters are dangerous. It is also deeply upsetting that the premise of the game must have gone through countless meetings, programmers, developers, and quality control, yet no one flagged the gross and dangerous premise of the game.

Maybe Ubisoft was too busy dealing with their rampant issues of racism, sexual harassment, and violence in the workplace, which have been painstakingly detailed in this exposé by Kotaku.

Or maybe they just don’t care. After all, their games continue to make money. But they also influence a generation of angry young men looking for a cultural scapegoat. It’s all too easy to make the connection between pro-fascist games like Elite Squad and murderous vigilantes like Kyle Rittenhouse and white militia groups currently committing atrocities across the country.

This game only validates the right-wing’s intense hatred and phobia of the fictitious Antifa, a fear that is stoked by Fox News and Donald Trump. Antifa is short for “anti-fascist”, which is something we should be because fascism is bad, remember?

So congratulations to Ubisoft, on perpetuating a dangerous and violent stereotype about BLM protesters. You must be very proud.

(via The Verge, image: screencap/YouTube/dustinscout)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.