This week The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the news that the eSports event “Apex Legends EXP Invitational at X Games” will no longer be aired by ESPN or ABC on Sunday, August 11th. The change to the broadcast schedule is a response to President Trump’s recent remarks on “gruesome and violent video games” following a wave of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The broadcast has been rescheduled for October 2019.
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 pic.twitter.com/6BMwdbk93t
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 8, 2019
Apex Legends is a battle royale style first-person shooter by EA and Respawn Entertainment, where teams of three compete against each other for survival. The event on August 11th would have been Apex Legend’s biggest eSports event to date.
Apex Legends is dissimilar from more realistic first-person shooter titles like Call of Duty, with a colorful and cartoonish style. The game does not contain blood or gore and carries an Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, rating of “Teen.”
Several politicians in the United States have commented on violent video games and the seeming increase of gun violence in the country. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden disagreed with President Trump’s claim that video games are a cause of “carnage,” but with the caveat that violence in video games is “unhealthy.” Many Democrats have shared the opinion that the President’s focus on violence in video games is a distraction from proposed gun control legislation, which does not have bipartisan support.
The Entertainment Software Association, or ESA, issued a statement reiterating the absence of a relationship between video game content and gun violence in response to President Trump’s comments on video game violence. The ESA is the leading trade group representing the games industry.
“More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide, the group said in a statement. “Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”
The decision from ESPN and ABC to not air the Apex Legends eSports event coincides from a similar decision made by Walmart this week to remove signage and promotional materials for games that feature gunplay, as well as any material that references “violent images or aggressive behavior.”
The Apex Legends EXP Invitational was held on August 2nd and 3rd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The broadcast is rescheduled to air in October and will be a collection of highlights from the eSports event.