Ubisoft apologizes after Tom Clancy mobile game co-opts BLM movement

Ubisoft says it is patching out imagery from a promotional video that likened the villains of its Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad game to the real-world Black Lives Matter and Black Power movements.

Ubisoft once again came under fire over the weekend, this time for using real-world imagery and situations as a backdrop for a new mobile game in a way that aligned the Black Lives Matter movement and protests with the game’s fictional terrorist group Umbra.

The intro video for Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad that made the rounds over the weekend tells the story of its fictitious shadow organization Umbra while visually showing images of protests and using the raised fist symbol historically tied to the Black Power movement as Umbra’s own logo.

By Ubisoft’s own admission, its an insensitive and harmful comparison to make. The game steals a symbol with historical significance, but also one that is widely used by and in support of the Black community as protests against police violence toward Black people continue across the United States. 

Ubisoft itself donated money and made a public pledge in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when George Floyd was killed by police only months ago. In a statement now at odds with its own actions, Ubisoft at the time said that it “[stands] in solidarity with Black team members, players, and the Black community."

The company has now apologized, at least internally according to a Bloomberg report, and publicly said that the raised black fist imagery will be removed from the game as soon as possible.

Through an internal message obtained by Bloomberg, Elite Squad creative director and Ubisoft Owlient general manager Charlie Guillemot said that the team would remove the game’s entire intro sequence and noted that the segment in particular was produced in 2018 despite its parallels to current events. 

“In the future, we will more rigorously review content produced and about to be released in order to help us avoid similar mistakes,” reads a portion of the message shared by Bloomberg.

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