Ubisoft have announced that Rainbow Six Siege’s Stage 2 Major will take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), leading to backlash from the game’s community.
A new year means a fresh esports circuit, however, with Ubisoft confirming that Majors will take place in the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Asia respectively.
While excitement builds around the first Major, the company’s decision to hold Major 2 in the UAE has sparked backlash from the game’s community – especially from those who identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
Ubisoft face backlash for Rainbow Six UAE Major
According to a February 20 blog post, Rainbow Six’s Stage 2 Major will take place in the United Arab Emirates in August, 2022.
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For many, the choice of country has been deemed inappropriate given the nation’s legal position on LGBTQ+ people. Several of the game’s casters, including Emi ‘CaptainFluke’ Donaldson and Jess ‘JessGOAT’ Bolden, are part of the queer community, raising questions about how they would be received in countries that actively criminalize their sexuality.
“So what happens to all of our LGBT talent (and players)?” asks fellow caster, Geo “Geo” Collins. “Do we leave them at home? Take the risk? Ask Fluke to present as male and Jess to delete photos of she and her girlfriend? I’d love to hear an elaboration about this because currently this seems extremely concerning.”
So what happens to all of our LGBT talent (and players)? Do we leave them at home? Take the risk? Ask Fluke to present as male and Jess to delete photos of she and her girlfriend?
I'd love to hear an elaboration about this because currently this seems extremely concerning. https://t.co/KorDrL1q4a
— Geo (@geometric) February 20, 2022
The game’s wider community has also been quick to criticize the decision. “Really good feeling to hear that there are now tournaments being held that many of my friends would be executed for attending,” comments one.
Really good feeling to hear that there are now tournaments being held that many of my friends would be executed for attending.
— OMDolton84 (@OMDolton84) February 20, 2022
“Having a big rainbow flag in the backround and then going to the f**king UAE,” writes another.
A final comment simply reads “neat, a facist regime gets a Major,” epitomizing the feelings of many among the game’s fanbase.
Neat, a facist regime gets a major.
— Rhiannon (@Rhianno25594476) February 20, 2022
In 2020, Riot Games were heavily criticized for adding Saudi company, NEOM, as a sponsor for the LEC back in 2020, ultimately pulling the sponsorship in response to the backlash.
In January 2021, ESL and Faceit merged and were purchased by Saudi-backed Savvy Gaming Group, similarly sparking debate among the CS:GO community.
Whether or not Ubisoft will change the Major 2’s location following the response remains to be seen.