ESA Condemns Trump's Racist Remarks as "Repulsive"

"There is no place in our society for this type of backward thinking[.]"

News by Matt Kim, .

In a surprising statement, the Entertainment Software Association has issued a strongly worded condemnation of President Trump's racist comments reported earlier today where he referred to immigrants from "Haiti and Africa" as being from "shithole" countries.

"America's greatness is built on our diversity. The president's repulsive comments undermine the fundamental values of who we are as a country," said the ESA in its statement. "There is no place in our society for this type of backward thinking, and we condemn it in the strongest terms."

As a trade association that represents the interests of video game publishers, the ESA is no stranger to issuing statements regarding the goings on in today's political landscape. However, the statement coming out against Trump's racist remarks today mark one of the strongest rebukes to this administration.

Previously, the ESA issued several other statements regarding the Republican controlled government in Washington D.C. since Trump was elected President. Some were congratulatory like the statement issued in the wake of the passing of the Republican tax bill. Other statements were issued more diplomatically, like the ESA's response to Trump's threats to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs.

Trump's remarks today, in which he asked why he would want immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti and African nations rather than immigrants from countries like Norway were widely condemned as racist and offensive. Trump's racist comments were widely reported and the White House did not deny Trump having said these remarks.

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Comments 27

  • Avatar for presidentcamacho #1 presidentcamacho 2 months ago
    I realize you get cool points in this business for preaching, but as a reader, I'd very much prefer to see a site about video games stay on the topic of video games. We get bombed with political lecturing everywhere else, this hobby is an escape from that.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #2 nadiaoxford 2 months ago
    @presidentcamacho There’s no preaching here. Matt delivered the news straight, and given it’s a statement by the ESA, it’s relevant to the industry, and thus relevant to the site.

    Having put away 30+ years into this pastime, I can’t recall a time when it *wasn’t* political. One of the first games I ever played was Missle Command, which rewards you with a screen stating “THE END” instead of “Game Over” when you (inevitably) lose. The message is clear, and it goes to show devs have been using their games to convey political opinions since before games even averaged 16k of memory.

    (Before you say “‘Nuclear war is bad!’ isn’t a controversial political statement!”, well—[gestures in the general direction of news about North Korea])
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  • Avatar for NotCarolKaye #3 NotCarolKaye 2 months ago
    Wow, good for them. They didn't have to make this statement, but I'm glad they did.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #4 Ohoni 2 months ago
    Wait, why is the ESA coming down so hard on this when they don't seem to have a problem with marketing gambling to children? I mean, good for this, but they could use some more consistency without their own sphere as well.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #5 VotesForCows 2 months ago
    Not their biggest fan, but this is an important statement from ESA. Quite apart from the ethics, game development is very international so I guess they think it's important to soften Trumps usual crap.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #6 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    Whilst as a brit I'm reluctant to wade in on American politics (especially to support someone like Trump who is almost certainly racists in some degree) I do find it intellectually dishonest to label his statement here as racist; its a simple statement of fact that many countries from which immigrants and refugees flee are shit holes. No surprise, it's why they are fleeing - to escape the threat of death, rampant disease, zero life prospects etc. And its true you do not see millions of Norwegians running from such things.

    Is it racist to say that its problematic to try to integrate people from cultures that traumatise those fleeing? That it is not as advantageous as would be taking people from countries like Norway with higher educated and skilled populations? No, clearly not. Perhaps not the most diplomatic of statement to make, even in a supposedly private discussion, but not racist, and it does highlight an important issue that troubles many people.

    Didn't expect to see news of it here though, it's not really something the ESA need comment on.
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #7 UnskippableCutscene 2 months ago
    I had thought the person above said, but didn't want to say it because I'd rather save face and not have another downvoted post, but yeah, I think the choice word for what Trump said would be 'prejudiced' rather than 'racist'. The writer's human, "racism" is a pretty well-worn word that we reach for instinctively, it's a logical fallacy that I see from people of all walks. (If you need an example, see how long an Israel discussion can go on your average internet forum before someone misappropriates a criticism of a policy with a racist attack on a people.)
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  • Avatar for Dorchadas #8 Dorchadas 2 months ago
    Thank you for using the word racist in the headline.
    @UnskippableCutscene Nah, it's absolutely the correct word. From housing discrimination in the 70s to continued rants about the Central Park Five to calling Mexicans rapists and wanting to ban Muslims, Trump's racism is probably the most consistent intellectual position he's held.

    The thing Fourfoldroot didn't bring up is that Haiti didn't spring forth fully-formed as inferior to America, it was shunned internationally for being a free black republic and trade was only opened up after it paid reparations to France for daring to deprive them of their "property" (through a slave revolt). America invaded Haiti in 1915 and didn't leave into the 30s, and we invaded again in 1994. The defense of Trump's remarks that some countries just have worse quality of life than others ignores the history of why that's the case.Edited 2 times. Last edited January 2018 by Dorchadas
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  • Avatar for gillijack #9 gillijack 2 months ago
    As soon as I heard about the president's awful remarks, I recalled that Reggie Fils-Aime's family were Haitian immigrants. Imagine NOA without Reggie!? The incredible historical ignorance and bold-faced racism of this administration is stomach churning.
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  • Avatar for Positive-Touch #10 Positive-Touch 2 months ago
    this might've had more impact if the ESA hadn't spend so much time praising trump and his policies beforehand. still, thanks usgamer for calling racism what it is. it's sad to see some in the comments defending trump's hateful remarks as truth.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #11 Nuclear-Vomit 2 months ago
    Yes, there are plenty of shit-hole countries (like North Korea). It doesn't mean the immigrants or refugees are.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #12 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago

    Agreed. Which is why it's lucky he didn't say any such thing (although, let's be honest, he was probably thinking it). People (of any colour) from war torn countries do have their own issues which can make integration difficult however - as has been seen when our own soldiers comeback from war zones). I don't see that anything he said was inacurrate, it's just nobody can believe this moron came to his position from a place of considered reasoning.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #13 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago

    Its a good point that the reason many of these countries are shit holes (I'm not referring to Haiti specifically as I don't know the history as well as I do the Africsn/ Asian countries pertinent to the discussion) is that the West, including America, has a long history of perpetuating and even starting conflicts between warring factions for our own self interests). This doesn't change the current situation though.
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  • Avatar for INSOMANiAC #14 INSOMANiAC 2 months ago
    @Fourfoldroot The problem is, he was asking 'why are we taking people from these shithole countries, we should be taking people from Norway'. He wasn't condemning the nations governments, he was suggesting the people from those countries aren't as valuable or as welcome in the US. That's plain and simple small minded racism.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #15 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago

    There is a valid case to be made in saying they aren't as valuable as immigrants to a host nation, and perhaps they are more difficult to integrate and bring more social problems given they are from war torn countries and cultures founded in different traditions...

    But this is Trump, so I don't feel like it given he is almost certainly coming from that place of "small minded racism" as you say. I would just be hesitant to let the argument be disavow Ed simply because it is trump saying it - and saying it in his usual uncivilised manner.
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  • Avatar for moochan #16 moochan 2 months ago
    Always hate comments on "stop talking about politics" when all the article really does it talk about it in terms of a major gaming trade association. It's not really being political it's just stating a fact. I get some people are tired of political talk in this day of age but when the article is just covering a topic of gaming interest might as well post it. Just like how Poland gave Obama a copy of Witcher 2. Breath in and out and calm down and maybe enjoy some games until the next wave of insanity.
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #17 UnskippableCutscene 2 months ago
    @INSOMANiAC Call it a futile defense of English, but I tend to use the word racist exclusively for discrimination based on skin color. Trump can be a racist and a bigot and prejudge people on other factors, all at the same time.

    In a full-blown immigration debate there's room to discuss whether immigrants raised under junta governments and the like will be as stable or self-sufficient as immigrants from other wealthy democratic nations, and not every instance of that point is racist. You're making pre-judgments of people's education and work ability that you've never met, but it's not one based on skin color necessarily.

    Given Trump's history, I think it's of little doubt, and that's why I said I understand why the headline is what it is in USGamer, but if this was the Washington Post and I was an editor I'd be forced to throw a flag on the field.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #18 SIGGYZtar 2 months ago
    "He definitely said those things, but our bosses need the money." Edited January 2018 by SIGGYZtar
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  • Avatar for novacav #19 novacav 2 months ago
    @nadiaoxford Actually, he didn't report the news straight.

    1) The things Trump said, including the "shithole" comment, are alleged by two anonymous sources via Washington post. Alleged, not fact. There is no proof other than anonymous "people familiar with the meeting." In other words, it could be real, it could be complete fiction.

    2) While the Whitehouse did not deny, Trump, in a tweet earlier today, denied that he used the reported language.

    If those had been mentioned, I'd be fine with the article.

    However, I don't expect games journos to be pros at political reporting, and that's not a bad thing - why would they be? Which is why it's better to stick to games in my opinion.
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  • Avatar for usgmatt #20 usgmatt 2 months ago
    @novacav Hey, just thought I'd chime in.

    The news isn't whether or not Trump said those things, it's the ESA's response to them. Whether or not he made those remarks, the ESA has responded to the alleged comments in strong terms not typically seen from the ESA. It's why the headline is "ESA Condemns" and not "Trump said this".

    Secondly, Trump's denial of the comments is from this morning, half a day after this news post was published. But given that the ESA has not retracted its statement, the news post remains unchanged.

    Just because we cover games doesn't mean we're not beholden to same standards of journalism covering other topics.
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #21 SIGGYZtar 2 months ago
    @novacav A sitting US Senator just confirmed the remarks and more today.
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  • Avatar for novacav #22 novacav 2 months ago
    @usgmatt Thanks for replying, I appreciate it. I do see what you're saying - it's fair enough. The news is the ESA's action.

    Still, the assumption irks me, and there remains a problem, again in my opinion.

    'ESA Condemns Trump's Racist Remarks as "Repulsive"'

    The headline alludes to the alleged remarks as fact. I forgot to mention actually, this morning two anonymous sources familiar with the matter told me that you, Matt Kim, made anti-Jamaican remarks in a USG strategy meeting. The two people say that you called Jamaicans "smelly" and that they "smoke too much weed while carrying their hair in a bag."

    Now, obviously you will claim you did not say this, but alas, the "two people" say otherwise. Maybe I even found a former or sitting Gamer Network employee who corroborates. Okay, so let me go write a headline.

    'ESA Condemns Kim's Racist Remarks as "Repulsive"'

    Do you see the issue I have? Again, thanks for replying. USG is one of my favorite gaming websites, but I felt it was worth commenting.

    Edit: From where I'm sitting, the article says 1/12/18, which is today, the day Trump denied. If you're in a time zone where it was yesterday and Trump's denial was today, apologies. I suppose without a timestamp, I should not have assumed.Edited 2 times. Last edited January 2018 by novacav
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #23 cldmstrsn 2 months ago
    @presidentcamacho No one forced you to read this article.
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  • Avatar for mattcom26 #24 mattcom26 2 months ago
    @novacav Reading this comment, it's totally unclear if you're alleging Matt Kim actually made those ant-Jamaican comments, or just using that as a hypothetical. I assume the latter, but if you're trying to make a point you should be crystal clear about that.
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  • Avatar for novacav #25 novacav 2 months ago
    @mattcom26 Fair enough - to clarify, it was 100% a hypothetical to make a point.

    But, I could have just as easily have replied to you saying it's real and that I need to protect my sources.

    Hence my problem with WaPo and others who use anonymous sources as carte blanche to print whatever they like, whenever it's politically expedient, and remain immune to libel laws because sources. And have other outlets then endlessly parrot it as fact.

    Anonymous sources are fine when they provide verifiable documents or other primary sources... but when it's just hearsay some wannabe fiction writer could just as easily have come up with, the practice becomes more shady.Edited January 2018 by novacav
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  • Avatar for novacav #26 novacav 2 months ago
    @SIGGYZtar He said/she said January 2018 by novacav
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  • Avatar for INSOMANiAC #27 INSOMANiAC 2 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene I would argue that his use of 'People from shithole countries' to talk about people coming to his country from Africa and Haiti is racist. There's a difference between someone making an argument for not allowing people in based on economic and educational circumstances and calling places shitholes and assuming the people from there are worth less.

    Trump doesn't have the intelligence to form a reasoned argument based on what I have seen and heard him say and do.
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