As anti-Asian hate rises, the esports community stands against violence

Leading up to and in the wake of multiple shootings in Atlanta, companies and organizations within the esports community have taken a stand against anti-Asian hate.

Bandai Namco, the company behind esports like Tekken, Dragon Ball Fighter Z and Soulcalibur, released a statement on March 16 in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, using the #StopAsianHate hashtag. Later that day, eight people, six of them of Asian descent and seven women, were killed in three separate shootings across the Atlanta area. The next day, T1 released a statement of its own condemning the acts of violence.

Robert Aaron Long, a white 21-year-old, was charged in connection with the March 16 killings on Wednesday after confessing to investigators. A press release from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office claims Long told them his alleged actions were not racially motivated, and that the parlors where he allegedly carried out the shootings enabled his addiction to sex.

This act of violence became yet another instance of the rising hate crimes committed against individuals of Asian descent that Bandai Namco noted on its Twitter account. The company added how being based in Japan makes the increase in anti-Asian hate hit home for its employees.

The company condemned acts of violence, bullying, discrimination and xenophobia. This was in addition to highlighting its continued commitment to inclusion, diversity and fairness. 

In the statement, Bandai Namco acknowledged its culturally diverse employees, players and fans as well. It called particular attention to elders and reaffirmed its commitment to speak out and raise awareness about anti-Asian sentiments.

Resources to help #StopAsianHate

Bandai Namco later added a reply to its initial tweet that included links to an information page created using carrd.io. The page noted that there has been a wave of anti-Asian violence since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also linked visitors to petitions, donation pages, videos that can help others spread the word and additional resources.

An additional link on Twitter sent users to a resources page that provided statistics about the state of sentiments toward Asian Americans, news updates and more. Similarly, the remaining link sent users directly to the Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate website.

Stop AAPI Hate was first launched on March 19, 2020 by the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON) and the Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) organization. 

Bandai Namco and T1’s statement used the #StopAsianHate Twitter hashtag. Although the hashtag trended on Twitter following spa shootings on March 16, it was not a new one.

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