Fans Want to Boycott Rainbow Six Siege Major Over Concerns for LGBT Community
Ubisoft recently announced plans to host the second Six Siege Major in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This has shocked fans of the game for multiple reasons. The decision to host the event was not revealed in the Year 7 (2022) roadmap. Additionally, several notable members of the Rainbow Six community including some of the esports casters are concerned about the UAE’s stance on the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community. Trans esports commentator Emi “Fluke” Donaldson was one of the first to raise concerns over Ubisoft’s decision and a part of the community wants to boycott the Rainbow Six Siege esports event altogether.
The UAE’s stance on LGBT rights has the R6 community concerned
, a global group of experts, journalists, and lawyers working on human rights issues, the Federal penal code in the UAE punishes “any male disguised in a female apparel and enters in this disguise a place reserved for women or where entry is forbidden, at that time, for other than women” with one year’s imprisonment, a fine of up to 10,000 dirhams ($2,723), or both.
HRW reported that transgender women have been arrested under this law even in mixed-gender spaces. Consensual sexual relations outside marriage (termed “Zina” in the country) are also punishable. Emilio “Geometrics” Leynez shared her concerns for Donaldson and other members of the Ubisoft broadcast talent who are from the LGBT community. Leynez said on Twitter, “The values and laws of the UAE do not represent that of the R6 community, and they are a direct danger to the lives of many of our friends and peers.” A on Change.org has been created by the community so Ubisoft does not host the Six Siege Major in the UAE.
FNATIC’s popular content creator Tobias “BikiniBodhi” André on Twitter against Ubisoft by stating, “Whoever made this decision to hold an event in a country where some of the characters in their own game, let alone their talent, would be executed in for existing, should be fired.”
Similar concerns were raised back in August of 2020, when the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and tournament organizer BLAST , a cross-border city project in the Tabuk Province of Northwestern Saudi Arabia. The deal was quickly met with outrage and public criticism from the esports community, talent that worked with Riot, influential esports journalists, and even Riot employees. The publisher eventually ended the partnership and apologized to fans.
At the time of publishing this story, Ubisoft has not publicly responded to the concerns of its broadcast talent and the petition to boycott the event is still live. The publisher’s decision to not include the UAE major in its esports roadmap for 2022 and quietly announce it just recently did not sit well with many members of the Rainbow Six community.