Halo Infinite devs face backlash after adding “racist” Juneteenth cosmetic

343 Industries / Arseniy45 via iStock

343 Industries is facing massive backlash over a nameplate in Halo Infinite meant to celebrate Juneteenth by giving it a title many pros and players saw as a “racist” slight before it was quickly changed.

The studio released a green, black, and red nameplate palette that was supposed to pay homage to Juneteenth, the commemoration of Texan slaves’ emancipation in 1865, the oldest celebration in the United States marking the end of slavery.

But people were stunned to see the official name for 343’s content: Bonobo.

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Internet outcry from Halo Infinite pro players and the larger gaming community instantly megaphoned on Twitter and Reddit after the color scheme, which directly referenced a proud moment in Black history, was named after a great ape.

halo infinite Juneteenth bonobo palate343 Industries via u/onix
Halo Infinite’s Juneteenth content was named ‘Bonobo,’ raising backlash towards the studio.

343 update Juneteenth content after backlash

People immediately sought for a change to the Halo ‘Bonobo’ nameplate, which 343 quickly obliged, but were waiting hours for someone from the developer to address the situation.

They eventually changed the Halo Infinite nameplate from ‘Bonobo’ to ‘Freedom’ hours after players spread in-game images showing its original title.

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The error in branding was quickly made apparent after 343 hotfixed the palette with a more suitable label, but the damage was already done.

Senior Community Manager John Junyszek responded to the mistake, referring the ‘Bonobo’ name as an “internal toolset” that was unintentionally applied to the final product.

Halo Infinite pros & players slam 343 for ‘Bonobo’ name

Halo Infinite stakeholders in its pro community, general player audience, and larger Halo fan base were dumbfounded for how the studio would let the name slide.

“So to celebrate an African-American holiday you name the new emblem after an APE?!” Bradley ‘aPG’ Laws, an OpTic Gaming Halo pro, said. “Disappointed isn’t even the word to use here, but to have blatant racism on an important holiday is just spitting in black peoples faces.”

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Though the name was quickly released from Halo Infinite, people want to see accountability from the studio in light of the update.

“Unfortunately, my attitude towards racism is always disappointment and I am never surprised, ever,” Cloud9 Head Coach Emanuel ‘Hoaxer’ Lovejoy said.

“With that being said, how does this happen, [343 Industries]? Let’s actually talk about this because I’m confused.”

As more reactions to the Halo Infinite pile on, people are awaiting a more detailed response from 343 Industries as to how the mishap occurred.

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