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A Canadian company announced on Facebook Thursday that it will not make available a video game roundly criticized as racist and issued an apology to the Chinese community.
“After careful consideration and taking the time to listen to the [public’s] opinion we have decided it’s not in anyone’s best interest to release Dirty Chinese Restaurant,” reads the statement, which also appears on the website of Big-O-Tree Games.
“We would like to make a sincere and formal apology to the Chinese community and wish to assure them that this game was not created with an intentional interest of inflicting harm or malice against Chinese culture,” it adds.
Big-O-Tree Games came under fire last week from elected officials, community activists, and even the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto for trailers of “Dirty Chinese Restaurant,” which were published on YouTube last year.
Among the scenarios portrayed in the game are a Chinese cook hunting for cats and dogs in a back alley to serve customers, an immigration officer coming to deport employees, and a tax collector looking for cash hidden under the mattress, according to the trailers.
The simulation game puts players in the shoes of “Wong Fu,” an overweight man clad in a chef’s apron and hat who inherits the business of his brother “Wang Fu.”
Karlin Chan, a community activist who happened upon those video clips while searching for something else on YouTube, said he was elated over the news.
“They made the right choice by withdrawing the game,” Chan told NBC News. “I guess they saw that it wasn’t fun and games to poke fun at people by using racist stereotypes.”
In a statement last week, Big-O-Tree Games initially defended the pixel-animated game, calling it “mainly satire and comedy influenced by the classic politically incorrect shows we grew up watching.” The company also said it “in no way is meant to be an accurate representation of Chinese culture.”
Even if “Dirty Chinese Restaurant” had been released, the game likely would not have met Apple or Google Play guidelines, which prohibits offensive or discriminatory content.
As of Thursday morning, all evidence of “Dirty Chinese Restaurant,” including a game description and screenshots, had been stripped from the company’s website. In its place was a brief statement.
“Out of respect we will begin removing all marketing media pertaining to [Dirty Chinese Restaurant] off our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts,” the last paragraph reads. “These accounts will also be removed. We ask the press to please respect our privacy at this time as we begin the task of removing all our content.”
An email sent to Big-O-Tree Games Thursday morning requesting additional comment was not immediately returned.