Fortnite stirred up some controversy last week when they unveiled their new collaboration with TIME magazine to add a digital museum exhibit to the creative side of the game dedicated to the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The decision to create the exhibit was met with mixed reactions, some praising the innovation of such an exhibit, others condemning the use of MLK in for-profit marketing materials, and yet others criticizing the implementation of the exhibit itself.
One of the most common and notable complaints about the MLK exhibit was that, while they disabled combat in the creative exhibit, Epic left emotes fully available in the mode. Some emotes and dances are quite disrespectful, especially in the context of using them at a civil rights museum exhibit. One emote, the whipcrack emote, was highlighted by many as particularly insensitive.
In response to the backlash against the inclusion of emotes, Epic decided to remove most emotes from the mode entirely this week. But the damage had already been done, with the internet already ablaze with the image of people spamming a whip inside their digital museum.
Some players have reported that Epic did not end up disabling the whipcrack emote from the DC Comics cosmetics pack due to their contract with DC, however, there is no evidence for this claim, and it could not be confirmed by Inven Global staff who attempted to test the claim in-game.
Regardless of whether the offensive emotes are still available or not, thousands of players took to Twitter and Reddit to condemn the use of the whipcrack emote and other offensive emotes like the tomato throwing emote during the event. To most who responded, the decision to allow the whipcrack emote at any point during the event was seen as inappropriate in the context of a museum exhibit about the black struggle for liberation in America.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.