Call of Duty on tv screen(l), Screengrab of trans pride bullets(r)

Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock H.P. Greencraft/X (Licensed)

Call of Duty Pride flag bullets spark uproar from those pushing fake trans mass shooter panic

The game introduced LGBTQ themed weapon skins in honor of Pride month.

 

Tricia Crimmins

Tech

In honor of Pride Month, first-person shooter franchise Call of Duty released weapon skins based on various Pride flags to be used in the game.

Included in the virtual Pride activation are weapon and bullet skins based on the transgender flag.

Many far-right figures and others online instantly connected the Call of Duty transgender weapon and bullet skins to their belief in a trans mass shooter epidemic. Anti-trans influencers in recent years have begun claiming that being transgender makes an individual more likely to commit a mass shooting.

The majority of U.S. mass shooters are not trans or non-binary, reported Reuters. However, several recent shootings have sparked an extreme outcry.

One of the first mentions of transgender flag-themed bullets on X was posted on June 1, alongside a photo of the virtual bullets. 

“What did @CallofDuty mean by this?” a far-right X user tweeted

In the days since, the discussions of the transgender bullets have proliferated on X and far-right message boards 4chan and Patriots.win, a site that replaced the controversial pro-Trump subreddit that was shut down by the platform in 2020 for hateful activity.

“Activision training the next t****y shooter with special gaybullets,” a user wrote on Patriots.win. Activision Blizzard is Call of Duty’s parent company.

“This is such bad optics, especially when there has been like 10 t****y mass shooters in just the last couple of months,” a 4chan user wrote. “But funny how there has been almost no uproar about it despite dozens of children killed, right? Almost no one are even aware of any of this.”

Numerous white male mass shooters have posted manifestos and massacre plans on 4chan ahead of the attacks, including Payton Gendron, a white supremacist who shot and killed 10 people and injured three at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.

Prominent right-wing figures including Ian Miles Cheong and Chaya Raichik commented on the “optics” of Call of Duty’s transgender weapon and bullet skins, too. Cheong is a hyper-conservative influencer based in Malaysia who frequently posts about American politics and Raichik runs the massively popular anti-LGBTQ X account @LibsofTikTok.

“Activision’s Call of Duty just added transgender bullets to the game in honor of Pride Month, so you can literally roleplay a transgender mass shooter,” Cheong tweeted.

“Call of Duty is now enabling kids to roleplay being a literal trans t*rr*rist,” Raichik tweeted. “With the uptick in actual trans violence that we’ve been seeing, it’s alarming that @CallofDuty would introduce this.”

Mark Kern, a video game executive who worked for a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard before forming his own video game company, Red 5 Studios, also posted about the weapon and bullet skins on X, saying that Activision Blizzard will get sued for the Pride activation because “several mass shootings are trans manifesto motivated.”

Last week, the families of the victims of the Uvalde shooting sued Activision Blizzard for allowing gun manufacturers to market to children through partnerships with the video games company

Kern tweeted the same sort of suit could be brought against Activision Blizzard.

“@Activision and @CallofDuty just put the entire video game industry in jeopardy with their latest virtue signal,” Kern tweeted. “Legal needs to take down the pride ammo and pride operator skins immediately or it will be used against them.”

Kern received extreme pushback for his assertions about the prevalence of trans mass shooters.

“This puts actual people in danger when you depict a group as inherently violent and needing to be suppressed,” a trans video game designer who goes by Dead Domain online tweeted, addressing Kern.

But Kern doubled down.

“You might be outraged, but the legal team suing Activision isn’t going to care and will use these facts against them,” Kern tweeted. “Activision should pull the skins immediately.”


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