A totally tasteless smartphone game called “Angry Trayvon” has been removed from app stores following public outcry and a change.org petition protesting the offensive app.
The game—the demo video of which we were able to watch before it was taken down—stars a hoodie-wearing, knife-wielding, shadowy-faced protagonist fighting villains on the streets of various cities. According to the video, players could “Fight in historic cities like Brooklyn, NY,” “Collect money and wallets to increase [their] score” and “Eliminate the bad guys with flying daggers.” It was previously available for download in both the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
The main character in “Angry Trayvon” is not explicitly referred to as “Trayvon Martin,” just “Trayvon,” though users can guess the correlation. According to Fast Company, the game was released in December 2012—ten months after the real Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Plus, the character’s hooded sweatshirt matches the garment Mr. Martin was wearing when he was shot.
As of yesterday, Apple had removed the game from its app store, but Google Play had not, prompting a North Carolinian named T.L. Rowe to start a petition on change.org. Addressed to Google and Google Play, the petition read:
This application unnecessarily promotes violence and exploits the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin. I am sure his parents not appreciate the image of their son as a gun toting vigilante. The death of this young man is NOT A GAME. This developer is using the Google Marketplace to exploit the death of an unarmed teen for profit while simultaneously promoting violence. Given the racial and social climate surrounding this issue and the unfair depiction of a deceased minor who perished as a result of gun violence, we are asking that this application be moved from the Google Play marketplace immediately.
The petition easily collected its 50 desired signatories. “We will boycott all things Google,” signatory Kimberly Hose wrote in the comments section, “Take this racist crap down…NOW!” Others took to Twitter, using #angrytrayvon to call the game “disrespectful,” “inappropriate” and “insensitive.”
As of this morning, “Angry Trayvon” has been removed from the Google Play store. The game’s developers, TradeDigital, Inc., also reportedly issued a sorry-we’re-not-sorry on their Facebook page, which no longer appears to be accessible:
“The people spoke out therefore this game was removed from the app stores. Sorry for the inconvenience as this was just an action game for entertainment. This was by no means a racist game. Nonetheless, it was removed as will this page and anything associated with the game will be removed.”
A video game about a real, deceased teenager? Not really most people’s idea of “entertainment.”