Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella has issued a statement apologizing for combative comments made by company employees towards frustrated Apex Legends fans.
Respawn employees Jay “Jayfresh” Frechett and Drew “dk05” McCoy reached out to fans on a Reddit thread revolving around the controversial use of loot boxes in the ongoing Iron Crown Collection event. Some conversations got out of hand and resulted in Frechett and McCoy firing back at commenters. The pair referred to several Reddit users as “dicks,” “ass-hats,” and “freeloaders.”
The comments blew up on the Apex Legend reddit page and “ass-hat” become a rallying cry for many upset fans.
Zampella tweeted out an apology three days later. The CEO reinforced the importance of maintaining a healthy player/developer relationship.
“We need to lead by example. Last week we didn’t do that, and going forward we will be better. Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn,” Zampella said.
The CEO chided the use of language used by his employees, but supported the pair’s intent in defending themselves, citing death threats against Frechett and McCoy as well as towards their families.
“I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments being directed at them,” Zampella said.
The community has been split in response to Zampella’s apology. Some fans believe that Respawn shouldn’t have needed to apologize at all for defending themselves against toxic commenters. Others believe that the apology is meaningless if the developers don’t focus on solving the actual problems still plaguing the game.
One Reddit user pointed out that nothing has changed despite all the drama.
“Respawn did not address any of the actual issues. The only change they made to the Iron Crown event was unanimously rejected,” the user said.
Respawn has stated that future events will be handled differently from the ongoing Iron Crown event, but hasn’t provided any specific examples of what might change.