ESPN, ABC Pull 'Apex Legends' Esports Tournament Following Mass Shootings
The 'Apex Legends' EXP Invitational was scheduled to air this weekend on the networks.
Following multiple mass shootings over the weekend and a public condemnation of "gruesome and violent video games" by President Donald Trump on Monday, ESPN and ABC have opted to pull the broadcast of X Games Apex Legends EXP Invitational that was scheduled this weekend, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Rod Breslau was the first to report the news on Twitter.
The event has been rescheduled for October.
Apex Legends is a first-person shooter, battle royale game from EA and Respawn Entertainment. It pits teams of three against one another in an ever-shrinking map until one one team survives. The event over the weekend was to be the game's biggest esports event since its launch in February.
Unlike more realistic shooters such as Call of Duty, Apex Legends is marked by a more cartoonish art style and does not feature blood or gore. It is rated T, for teen, by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Earlier this week, Universal pulled ads for its film The Hunt, produced by Blumhouse, which centers on a plot involving Trump-supporting characters being hunted for sport by a group of liberal elites.
Esports have become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the past few years, with last month's inaugural Fortnite World Cup awarding a grand prize of $3 million to 16-year-old champion Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf and a total prize pool of $30 million (the Apex Legends Invitational has a $150,000 prize pool).
President Trump's comments were met with much backlash from the gaming community. The Entertainment Software Association refuted Trump's claims, saying, "More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. 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."
Meanwhile, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told THR, "Blaming entertainment is irresponsible, and moreover it’s disrespectful to the victims and their families."
A request for comment from Respawn and EA was not immediately returned.