National Guard eSports in trouble over anti-Semitic troll

Jack Murphy
September 17, 2020 - 9:51 am
Army eSports

Video by Staff Sgt. Moses Ward

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The U.S. military has had some growing pains as it attempts to use eSports as a recruiting tool.

Considering that the institution has been around since 1776 and traces it's lineage back even further, you could say that the military is an uber-boomer just trying to make it in a zoomer's world.

First, the Army eSports team started banning users on Twitch who trolled them by asking about war crimes -- the Army soon found themselves being challenged on 1st amendment grounds. Then Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez got involved and tried to shut down Army eSports entirely (she failed). When the Army team finally got back up and streaming, they were again inundated by trolls hammering them about everything from war crimes to imperialism to nationalized health care.

It seemed that like Icarus, the military had flown too close to the sun. Perhaps this cherished institution that crushed Nazis at Omaha beach, killed communists during the Tet Offensive, and put boots to Saddam's ass twice had bitten off more than they could chew with Afghanistan and live-streamed video games.

Now it is the National Guard that is facing controversy as one of their eSports members, Axel "ZexsOG" Torres, was streaming when he called out a user by their online handle thanking him for following them. Giving followers a shout out is common practice in eSports. The problem was that this user was named "6millionwasnt_nough" a reference to the six million Jews murdered during the holocaust. 

This doesn't mean Torres or the National Guard are anti-Semitic. They got baited by trolls as happens to people on Twitch and other forms of social media every day. This is different because it is an official stream from the Department of Defense. An ordinary Twitch streamer could just apologize and move on without articles like this one being written.

“This was an unfortunate situation and goes against the Army values of fostering inclusiveness and diversity. We are working with our volunteers on the (Army National Guard) Twitch Page to educate them on screen names that may have racial or negative sentiment behind them,” a National Guard spokesperson told Motherboard who first reported this story.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.