Daniel Z Klein, one of the lead game designers on Respawn Entertainment's battle royale Apex Legends has left the studio. This comes after the rediscovery of a string of offensive posts first shared by the developer back in 2007.
A number of images from the DeviantArt blog started doing the rounds on Twitter and YouTube towards the end of last month that show Klein making sexist and racist comments. As these resurfaced posts started to get more attention, Klein soon took to social media to apologise.
"I was recently confronted with some awful statements I made on a blog I wrote back in 2007," he wrote on Twitter. "I take full ownership for the things I said, and I'm embarrassed, sad, and angry at my younger self for saying this stuff. I hope it is obvious that I don't believe these things anymore."
I was recently confronted with some awful statements I made on a blog I wrote back in 2007. I take full ownership for the things I said, and I'm embarrassed, sad, and angry at my younger self for saying this stuff. I hope it is obvious that I don't believe these things anymore.- Daniel Zenon Klein (@danielzklein) July 27, 2021
At the time Ryan K Rigney, Respawn director of comms, shared a statement in support of Klein. "Regarding the comments: I don't think anything from 2007 reflects on a person in 2021," he wrote. "People grow up. And accusing him of 'possible sexual assault' is over the line, you should never say stuff like that without evidence."
Earlier this week, Klein confirmed in a series of tweets that he is no longer with Respawn following his termination. "As of last Friday, I am no longer working at Respawn," he wrote on August 10. "I want to be very open here and say that I'm heartbroken and depressed. It's been a very dark few days.
"You may or may not have seen the awful, bigoted things I said in 2007. I wholeheartedly agree that THAT guy should have been fired. I said racist and sexist things, not because I deeply believed any of them, but because I knew I could get a reaction out of people. That does not excuse anything I said; the impact of my words was the same regardless of what I believed.
"I'm mentioning this because with the help of a lot of people who loved me in spite of the shithead I was sometimes I was able to make progress on the journey to becoming a better person. If my story can help one person out there in a similar position to see that there's a way to become better, it would at least serve a purpose."
Klein finished by apologizing to the Apex Legends team for a "headache they didn't need", and clarified that he believes EA and Respawn were "within their rights" to terminate him, even if he doesn't agree with their decision.
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