“Now was not the appropriate time to share this content.”
It’s not long now until Square Enix reveals more details of Marvel’s Avengers on 24th June, and while I imagine the company’s PR department wanted to attract more attention for the event, a tweet yesterday evening attracted plenty – of entirely the wrong sort.
Shared via the Marvel’s Avengers Twitter account, the (now-deleted) tweet displayed a video conference background of a Captain America monument. “Heroes Park once celebrated the Avengers, but has since been defaced”, read the tweet. “Despite the AIM drones that surveil the area, there are still people who believe and pay their respects to Captain America.”
What’s the problem here? For the past three weeks, people around the world have attended demonstrations to support the Black Lives Matter movement and protest the death of George Floyd, after footage emerged of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The protests have focused on systemic racism beyond police brutality, too, and many have called for memorials and statues of racists and imperialists to be removed – or, in the case of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston, taken matters into their own hands by dumping the statue into the nearest body of water. The argument is that the monuments are celebratory unless given proper context (that could be provided in places like a museum), and erase wrongdoings that are no longer acceptable in today’s society.
It’s an argument that’s only become more heated over the past few days, with some statues removed, others boarded up, and right-wing groups labelling themselves as “statue protectors” attacking police in London over the weekend. In the context of all this, the Avengers tweet seemingly defending a defaced monument of a patriotic hero – complete with law enforcement drones – could be seen as insensitive to current social issues, and judging by the dozens of replies saying “read the room”, many felt it was tone deaf.
Although the content itself was likely created weeks before world events made it inappropriate, it seems Square Enix has now recognised it wasn’t the right moment to share this particular Zoom background. Eventually, the Marvel’s Avengers Twitter account removed the tweet and issued an apology.
“We’ve heard your response to our recent post and agree that now was not the appropriate time to share this content from our game,” the tweet said.
“We apologise for being insensitive.”