Blizzard Arena censors another meme for racist connections

Olivia R. April 8, 2019

Some Overwatch League fans think that Blizzard has taken censorship a bit too far.

The “OK” hand sign is now banned from the Blizzard Arena. On April 4, a fan in the audience held up the “OK” symbol during an interview with the Los Angeles Gladiator’s Gui-un “Decay” Jang following their victory over the Shanghai Dragons.

Check out where the controvery started here

In response, one Twitter user called the fan “human trash,” and said they should be banned from further matches for flashing the “white power hand symbol.”

The fan identified themselves on the same social media platform to explain their use of the hand sign.

“I want to apologize for not knowing the context behind it. The superfans have been using it for the old ‘gottem’ game all season, but now that we know the context it is unacceptable,” they said.

The fan added that they will not be using the “OK” sign during any future Overwatch League games.

Many people came to the fan’s defense, noting that the “OK” symbol being used as a white supremacist symbol is simply a meme created by 4chan. This is in reference to the “Operation O-KKK” post on 4chan in 2017, which aimed to make a connection between the emoji and high-powered politicians and celebrities that are thought to be connected to white hate groups.

While some OWL fans went on to say that even Zenyatta flashes an “OK” symbol in the game, the hand sign was also used by actual white supremacists, like the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand.

Either way, the Blizzard Arena did not want to take any chances and immediately banned use of the “OK” sign after the Twitter exchange.

This isn’t the first time that memes were banned from the Blizzard Arena. Last year, Pepe the Frog memes were openly discouraged by Blizzard, who called it a “symbol associated with or used by hate groups.” Overwatch League players were even required to remove references to the meme from their official streams.