IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Scooby-Doo's Velma is stripped of police-calling powers in video game after some brand her a 'Karen'

MultiVersus players took to the internet to criticize Velma’s portrayal in the game. Her ability to call police on Black characters such as basketball star LeBron James didn't sit right with everyone.
Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy from "Scooby-Doo." ABC Photo Archives / Disney via Getty Images

Velma Dinkley, the character from the beloved cartoon “Scooby-Doo,” has been dubbed a “Karen” for her ability to call police on Black characters in a new video game. Following backlash, the game has changed her powers.

The brainy crime-solver in the Mystery Inc. gang, Velma appears in MultiVersus, an online fighting game released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in July.

She's one of the many famous characters players can choose from Warner Bros. Discovery’s catalog including DC Comics’ Wonder Woman and Batman and Looney Tunes’ Bugs Bunny and Tasmanian Devil.

However, Velma's portrayal in the game has stirred debate online. As a sleuth, she can collect enough evidence against her opponent, hold up a wanted poster and call the police on them. Her character's ability to call police on Black characters such as basketball star LeBron James, who appeared in the movie "Space Jam: A New Legacy," didn’t sit right with everyone.

Critics branded Velma a "Karen" — a term coined by the internet to refer to a white woman who uses her status and power to humiliate a person of color.

There has been a spate of viral moments of white women threatening to or calling police, particularly on people of color, for things as trivial as watering flowers and barbecuing in parks

One Twitter user said he enjoyed Velma’s character in the game, “but maining a character who’s special move is calling the police on her enemies definitely don’t sit right with me as a Black man.” 

“They really made Velma a snitch in multiversus," another Twitter user said.

"Velma in multiversus is just a karen," one player tweeted in August. "she yells at u and calls the cops."

Velma's abilities changed Thursday as a result of patch updates to the game.

“Instead of calling the police, Velma now solves the mystery and calls the Mystery Inc. gang and the Mystery Machine to take the bad guys away,” the update said.

NBC News has reached out to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for comment on the change.

The update was welcomed by some players.

“Velma got updated in #MultiVersus and now she doesn’t call the cops. Which, GOOD. They shouldn’t have gotten there TO BEGIN WITH. She calls the Mystery Machine now. Which just makes MORE SENSE,” one person shared on Twitter.

Another player praised the update, saying, "I love how responsive the developers are on MultiVersus," and calling Velma's new power "more thematically appropriate."

But not everyone agreed with the switch.

"I’m sick of the whole 'Velma is a Karen' narrative that has come out of MultiVersus. Velma actually does her research and collects evidence before calling the cops on her opponents. She’s clearly not a Karen," one Twitter user explained.

Another player said they grew up watching "Scooby-Doo," noting that "the police being involved is nothing new for the character."

"I think to impose this new school Karen stuff on that is wack," the user said. "Y’all know it wasn’t like that."