The Genshin Impact community is divided over controversy surrounding Tighnari and his voice actor Elliot Gindi. Some players have called the English pronunciation of the Arabic name “racist”, targeting the actor and uncovering old messages of him using racial slurs.
The launch of Sumeru in Genshin Impact has been a joy for players, especially those looking forward to more cultural representation in the new Middle East-inspired region.
However from the get-go there has been controversy revolving around Forest Watcher Tighnari and his English voice actor Elliot Gindi. The Genshin Impact community is divided over how Tighnari is pronounced, with some calling the English localization “racist”.
Gindi — along with Aether’s voice actor Zach Aguilar — have defended the pronunciation in-game though.
“I’ve got to be honest here — Tighnari, or whatever people are insist you pronounce it as — is not a name you hear very often,” Gindi said on stream with Aguilar.
“I’m Middle Eastern but my grandmother was ahead of the curve and was like ‘racism? Everyone gets European names.’ She did it back in the Middle East.
“I would say it however the client wanted but even so I wouldn’t even make the mistake. I’ve never seen this name before in my life, I’ve never heard this.
“Between the period of the trailer coming out and Collei says his name and you’ve got all these people going on ‘actually you have to say it like this’ and I’m like you really think all these white people are going to say that properly? You think that’s better? You know how badly they did the German names [Mondstadt]? Surely it’s on purpose.”
The response angered some fans who said Gindi was “basically mocking people who want Tighnari’s name to be pronounced correctly”, and that the excuse of other names being mispronounced in the game doesn’t make it right.
Aguilar defended Gindi: “In every game that I’ve worked on, it’s not always to a T. In the final production of it, sometimes things slip through the cracks. Some people roll r’s on a name and another doesn’t, specifically for Japanese pronunciations.”
While the pronunciation of Tighnari’s name is one thing, some players are also concerned about Gindi’s conduct on social media.
Old screenshots from Gindi using racial slurs emerged in the aftermath, which he apologized for on September 6: “I was pretty ignorant in 2017, I listened to the wrong voices. Does my ignorance make it okay? Absolutely not, and ahead of all this I have already reached out to and apologized to both people in that conversation privately.”
It comes after the Genshin Impact community went after Dori’s voice actor, Anjali Kunapaneni, was harassed by fans after the character was deemed “too white” by some.
She told IGN India following the barrage of hate “folks are allowed to have their opinions and criticisms about a character” but they shouldn’t “take those opinions out on the actors”.