Yesterday, 343 Industries updated a Halo Infinite cosmetic released for Juneteenth, a US national holiday celebrating the freeing of African-American slaves, after it was discovered the cosmetic was named after a species of apes, “Bonobo,” it garnered significant attention on Reddit over the name of the color palette. 343 Industries changed the name of the cosmetic to “Freedom” later that day.
Founder and head of 343 Industries, Bonnie Ross, stated this in response to the backlash:
We were made aware of a palette option for our Juneteenth emblem that contained a term that was offensive and hurtful. The team immediately addressed this issue via an update. We are a studio and franchise that is committed to inclusivity where everyone is welcome and supported to be their true self. On behalf of 343, I apologize for making a celebrated moment a hurtful moment.
We are a studio and franchise that is committed to inclusivity where everyone is welcome and supported to be their true self. On behalf of 343, I apologize for making a celebrated moment a hurtful moment. (2/2)
— Bonnie Ross (@PlutonForEver) June 15, 2022
While Ross did not explain how the mishap had happened; however, Senior Community Manager for 343 Industries, John Junyszek, asserted this as an explanation on Twitter yesterday:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Sean. We strive to create diverse and inclusive gaming communities. While the original name refers to an internal toolset, it was not intended to be applied to this content and we recognize the harm it may have caused. The palette was incorrectly named and we immediately renamed it via an update.
The palette was incorrectly named and we immediately renamed it via an update. (2/2)
— John Junyszek (@Unyshek) June 14, 2022
This explanation could potentially have some truth to it because as Mint Blitz tweeted, 343 Industries does apparently use an internal tool, titled “Bonobo”, to construct bipedal models of characters. Therefore, some unreleased armor sets contain the same name as the tool due to every armor set being for characters with only two legs. However, some are unconvinced due to the fact that African-Americans have been historically denigrated by being compared to monkeys and apes, and this mishap coincided with an African-American holiday.
Since I saw 343 accidentally named the Halo Infinite Juneteenth emblem as Bonobo.
Here is literally the program that was in an old Bungie Vidoc. pic.twitter.com/ACzW3JBNj9
— Mint Blitz (@MintBlitz) June 15, 2022