[Trigger Warning: Rape, and pictures of simulated rape and violence towards women]
Another day, another game journalism complete fail. And not just an “oops” kind of fail, but a “fall flat on their face” style of fail. In an article posted today, Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku talks about a recent exhibition in Tokyo at which a diorama was on display that combined Resident Evil V with Michael Jackson. Yes, that’s kind of weird anyway, but it must have been a slow news day since he posted two other articles that were full of fail.
The exhibition, which was a 10 year anniversary event for a Japanese toy company named Hot Toys, featured a few diorama scenes of characters from Resident Evil combined with black zombies from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. On one floor, Jill Valentine is shown shooting the heads off of the Michael Jacksons. On another floor, multiple depictions of Michael Jackson are shown molesting Sheva Alomar.
Read more to see the images (which are potentially triggering and NSFW)
I don’t even know where to start. This situation is a complete fail all around. While it’s disgusting that the exhibition showed this diorama portraying the obvious rape and abuse of a female character (as an obvious promotion of their action figure toys), I don’t speak Japanese therefore I don’t know what the context is around the diorama. What was even more upsetting to me was the way in which Kotaku covered this.
The post is titled “Too Bad Zombie Michael Jackson Wasn’t in Resident Evil V”. That alone is a giant pile of what. the. fuck. It’s “too bad” that Sheva wasn’t raped for the players to see? What does that even mean? The commentary that Ashcraft wrote was:
On the second floor, Resident Evil’s Jill shoots zombie Jacko’s head plum off, while on the ground floor, a horde of Michael Jackson zombies takes great interest in a ravaged Sheva.
Takes a great interest? How about rapes a woman? Or molests and abuses Sheva? How about some commentary about how completely fucked up this is? No, instead we get a gallery with ten images, four of which focus on different angles of Sheva being groped by Jackson while trying to get away. The obvious molestation of Sheva in these images and at this exhibition is just taken as the norm, it’s the status quo. Don’t even get me started on the comments, with such atrocities and rape jokes such as “I bet he’s singing Beat It” and tons of homophobia when referring to Michael Jackson. Ugh.
I’m thankful that I don’t find a lot of things triggering personally, but I have immense empathy for those who do. I couldn’t imagine trying to get my latest video game news and running across images like this. No trigger warnings, no commentary about how disturbing the images are, no “don’t try this at home” disclaimers, nothing. Just another woman being abused by men like it’s no big deal. Carry on, there’s nothing more to see here. Sigh.