ESPN and ABC have cancelled plans to air highlights of an Apex Legends tournament, following the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.
The move by the US broadcasters was revealed by e-sports consultant Rod Breslau on Twitter, who said: “ESPN and ABC has made the decision not to air the TV broadcast of the XGames Apex Legends EXP Invitational that was scheduled for this weekend, in response to the recent mass shootings, according to an ABC Affiliate TV station source.”
Breslau’s tweet also included a letter from ABC to affiliates, in which the TV company said: “Out of respect for the victims and all those impacted by the recent shootings, ABC will no longer air “EXP Invitational Apex Legends at X Games on Sunday, August 11.”
Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, a spokesperson for ESPN confirmed that it, too has cancelled its planned coverage of the XGames Apex Legends EXP Invitational, saying: “The decision was made out of respect for the victims and all those impacted in the immediate aftermath of the shootings and it seemed the prudent thing to do given the swirl of that moment.” ESPN does, however, have plans to broadcast the tournament on an unspecified date in October, according to the website.
As previously reported, President Donald Trump and various Republican Party colleagues poised some of the blame for the mass shootings onto videogames – amid criticism that Trump’s inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric had emboldened at least one of the shooters.
Additionally, it has emerged in the wake of the shootings, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz, that US retailer Walmart has instructed its employees: “To remove signage, demos, and displays for entertainment products (including video games) that include violence or aggressive imagery.” The retailer has been called upon to remove guns from stores, however, they have stated that they will not be changing their policy on the matter.
To find out more about Apex Legends’ programme of live tournaments, visit the game’s official website.