The Injustice 2 Mobile game just came under fire on social media after celebrating Pride Month and supporting the LGBT+ community by beating DC’s iconic bisexual character Poison Ivy – not once, but over 400,000 times.
According to IGN, Injustice 2 Mobile’s developers have issued an apology on Twitter after encouraging players to fight a canonically bisexual character as a way of celebrating Pride month. The event involved the player base defeating Poison Ivy repeatedly for up to half a million times for guaranteed epic-tier rewards. Even though on a massive scale, committing an honest mistake and apologizing for it isn’t the issue behind the event’s mishap. But all the surrounding factors involved with Pride Month and the game’s event are, as they point out to a much larger problem for the LGBT+ community – something called “pinkwashing.” Let’s go to the beginning.
TechRaptor was first to publically point out the issue with the Global Challenge event – mainly celebrating Pride Month by defeating an iconic bisexual character several hundred thousand times in a now-deleted tweet. This kind of approach suggested that the developers of Injustice 2 Mobile were encouraging violence against the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride, which prompted a backlash response from the community, and later removal of the questionable tweet. Since then, the game’s developers issued a public apology to the players, acknowledging their mistake in associating the Global Challenge with Pride, calling it both insensitive and inappropriate.
But the central irony of the entire story was pointed out by Kotaku, which pointed out to the game’s and its developers’ classic examples of pinkwashing – a term used when companies attempt to cash in on the focus of Pride and dropping any meaningful support for LGBT+ community once the Pride Month is over. Classic pinkwashing behavior includes companies changing banners and avatars to rainbow flags to appear supportive of the LGBT+ community and their rights, which actually does more harm than good, especially when they’re inciting people to beat bisexuals, albeit virtually.
We sincerely believe that Injustice 2 Go wasn’t trying to incite violence against the LGBTQIA+ community, especially given the events rewards. Sure, the bisexual character was on the receiving end of things, which probably isn’t the brightest of decisions, but gamers had the chance to unlock Batwoman, who is often portrayed as a lesbian in the comics. Additionally, the gamers would also receive Harley Quinn tokens, which only serves as a nod to Harley’s and Ivy’s relationship. So, the development team’s hearts seemed in the right place, but the execution of those plans seems way off the charted course – even if the company was pinkwashing.
Poison Ivy is probably the most seductive Venus Flytrap in all fictional universes put together. She had a long string of lovers ever since her introduction in DC Comics in 1966. Though she had both men and women lovers over 55 years, her most recent romantic interest is precisely Harley Quinn, in the same-name animated show currently airing on HBO Max. Despite the public uproar and issued apologies for inciting players to mop the floor with Poison Ivy, the Injustice 2 Mobile’s event has ended after running its full course instead of being discontinued.