Blizzard has apologised after blackface appeared on an official South Korean Overwatch stream.
During the broadcast, one caster applied Doomfist makeup to co-host Kim ‘Binbon’ Jin Young. But rather than simply slapping on the Nigerian hero’s distinct white stripes, Binbon’s face was given an all-over dark coverage.
It was blackface. And while South Korea’s history with the practice isn’t as charged with racial oppression and mockery as it is in Europe and the US, the practice of painting one’s face to look like another race is widely seen as offensive.
The incident spread through the Overwatch fan community largely due to a screen capture (below) from Twitter user Mafirva, who called out Blizzard directly.
"So this is what Blizzard Korea allowed on their stream today?" said Mafirva. "Let's put makeup on to be Doomfist! When will we get rid of blackfacing? Is this what Blizzard stands for?"
The developer has since issued an apology condemning the incident and attempted to assure fans that it is taking steps to prevent similar events in future.
“What happened on the official Korean stream was inappropriate and clearly not in keeping with the global spirit of Overwatch,” a Blizzard representative told Dot Esports.
“We apologise for the insensitivity, and we are taking measures to ensure that everyone involved in official broadcasts in the region is better aware of the offensive nature of blackface makeup around the world.”