Reports are going around that Blizzard has reportedly banned fans attending the Overwatch e-sports arena events from making the okay hand-sign gesture. This was in result to a fan making the hand gesture as part of the “got ’em” game during an interview with one of the players, and someone reported it to the Overwatch League Twitter account, which then alerted event staff, who then promptly told the fan not to use the gesture again because they claim it’s associated with white supremacy.
Sankaku Complex picked up the news from e-sports consultant Rod Breslau, who tweeted out a recap of the event on April 5th, 2019, along with a clip of the interview where the hand-gesture made a brief appearance.
Blizzard told a fan in the Overwatch League arena they are not allowed to use 👌for its ‘association as a white power symbol’ after they flashed it on stream and a complaint was made to the OWL account on twitter pic.twitter.com/RMgUEUsBWK
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) April 5, 2019
As you can see, a fan throws up the okay sign shortly into the interview.
According to the fan, who posted up about the ordeal via their own Twitter account, they were unaware that there were issues with the okay hand sign, and they were just doing it for fun. The fan apolgoized on Twitter, claiming that the hand-sign is unacceptable given that Blizzard has apparently dictated that it’s associated with white supremacy.
I was the fan throwing up the 👌, and 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.
Thank you for bringing this up. It will not happen again. https://t.co/kjHyUreV3i
— Ty ‘SteelTrainer’ (@SteelTrainer_OW) April 5, 2019
The whole thing actually started as a joke on 4chan to get corrupt journalists to report that the okay hand sign was a signal for white supremacy. Corrupt journalists took the bait and did stories claiming that the okay hand sign, much like milk, and clowns, are associated with white supremacy. The history of how it became a meme and why journalists at Left-wing media outlets claim it’s a symbol of white supremacy is detailed in an unbiased and factually documented piece over on Know Your Meme.
As pointed out by Breslau, this isn’t the first time that Blizzard decided to crack down on meme culture within the Overwatch community. Previously they banned their e-sports players from posting any Pepe memes on social media, and they also forbade users from making comments or behaving in ways that they deemed inappropriate… even in their own personal livestreams or social media accounts.
Sankaku Complex also makes the wise observation that there hasn’t been an official announcement by Blizzard to ban the “Okay” hand gesture from being used within the Overwatch League arenas, but given the reprimand issued by event staff after they received a complaint about the sign, don’t be surprised if there’s a blog post in the coming days making an official statement about a widespread ban being applied to the hand gesture within the Overwatch community.
(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast and Smokratez)