The devs of Yooka-Laylee made a statement following the JonTron controversy.
JonTron’s voice work in Playtonic’s upcoming 3D Platformer, Yooka-Laylee, was removed following controversial remarks he made about immigration and nationalism on Twitter. This came as a shock to some of his fans, as JonTron typically doesn’t speak about such topics on his YouTube channel.
It’s there where JonTron, real name Jon Jafari, has managed to amass over 3 million subscribers, as well as make a name for himself with the popular gaming network, Normal Boots. Following his remarks, he went on to further elaborate his views on a stream with well-known Twitch streamer, Steve Bonnell (AKA Destiny).
During the stream, Jafari made unsubstantiated claims about wealthy black Americans who he believes, “commit more crimes than poor whites,” and how white Americans are currently going through a “demographic displacement” which he described as similar to the South African apartheid. You can watch the entire 2-hour stream below:
He quickly received backlash for his statements, and while he attempted to clarify himself in a YouTube video on his personal channel, it appears that the damage to his reputation had already been done.
The following is a statement that Playtonic released regarding JonTron's involvement in Yooka-Laylee on gamesindustry.biz:
"JonTron is a talented video presenter who we were initially, two years ago, happy to include as a voice contributor in our game. However, in light of his recent personal viewpoints we have made the decision to remove JonTron's inclusion in the game via a forthcoming content update. We would like to make absolutely clear that we do not endorse or support JonTron's personal viewpoints and that, as an external fan contributor, he does not represent Playtonic in any capacity. Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy. As such, we deeply regret any implied association that could make players feel anything but 100% comfortable in our game worlds, or distract from the incredible goodwill and love shown by our fans and Kickstarter backers."
While the developers of Yooka-Laylee stand by their admiration for JonTron’s work, they have a responsibility to their principles, as well as their fans and Kickstarter backers. Coming from a studio that places an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, it only feels right that Playtonic come to this decision. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.