Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of slaves in the United States – a new federal holiday that started in 2021.
As is the case with any holiday of the sort, corporations clamor to show their support to their fans – nothing inherently wrong with that.
It’s pretty easy to stay inoffensive at these times. All you need to do is stay away from racially insensitive language.
Of course, since you’re reading this, you can guess that 343 Industries didn’t do that. They named their Juneteenth cosmetic “Bonobo” – the name of an ape.
Halo Infinite’s Juneteenth debacle
Obviously, the internet had something to say about this one. Players, pros, and content creators took to Twitter and Reddit to discuss the Halo Juneteenth debacle.
I can’t imagine that this was anything less than a massive oversight.
John Junyszek, Sr. Community Manager at 343, put out some fires on Twitter, explaining that “the original name refers to internal toolset.”
I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’d be stunned if anyone did this on purpose – as a racist joke.
The palette was incorrectly named and we immediately renamed it via an update. (2/2)
— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) June 14, 2022
As Junyszek said in his post, the inappropriate cosmetic name was patched out of Halo Infinite – but the damage was done.
Was this an intentionally racist joke on the part of a rogue Halo Infinite dev? Probably not, but the chance that it was is greater than 0.
The Halo Juneteenth saga will blow over, but it wasn’t a good look.