Riot Games has fixed an error that had banned the word “Uighur/Uyghur” from League of Legends servers. This move comes after a Reddit thread highlighted the banning of the word, as players reported they couldn’t use the word in the game’s online chat. Uyghurs are a group of predominantly Muslim Chinese natives mostly living in the Xinjiang province, who have reportedly experienced human rights violations from the Chinese government. According to the BBC, reports have emerged from the Xinjiang region of the Chinese government incarcerating Uyghurs and placing them in mass imprisonment camps, where they must swear their loyalty to China’s president, Xi Jinping.
Players initially raised their concerns with this censorship on League of Legends’ official forums, but were ignored and blocked due to forum rules outlawing any discussion of ethnicity and race. Some have also alleged that other words like “freedom” are also being censored. When they moved their discussion of the issue to Reddit, they caught the attention of Riot Games communications lead Ryan Rigney, who responded to one of the comments pointing out the censorship of “Uyghur,” assuring he would “go look into this right now.” He explained that their “system bans really weird words for no good reason” sometimes, and that “it would be complete bullshit to intentionally ban the name of any ethnic group.”
UPDATE: Effective immediately this is fixed on live in all Riot Regions. We’ll be spending the next few weeks triaging with our global teams to review our “disallowed words/phrases” lists and update accordingly.
— Ryan Rigney (@RKRigney) October 21, 2019
He then brought the conversation to Twitter, reiterating he was “looking into it” and that it would be “ridiculous and absurd” to censor the name of an ethnic group. Soon afterward, he returned to Twitter to report that the issue was fixed across all regions, and that Riot will be “spending the next few weeks triaging with [their] global teams” to look at and update their lists of banned words and phrases.
This isn’t the first time League of Legends players have shared their complaints about the game this year, as back in June players in Iran and Syria were blocked from playing the game due to U.S. trade sanctions on Iran.