The Kickstarter-backed game Yooka-Laylee has been hit with dozens of refund requests after removing popular YouTuber JonTron as a voice actor from the game.
Yooka-Laylee raised about $2.5 million from backers for their platformer video game, marketed as the spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie. It will hit stores on April 11.
The game’s creator, Playtonic, said they dropped JonTron from the game over his “personal viewpoints.” JonTron, the gaming YouTuber with 3 million subscribers, made some inflammatory comments in an online debate about black crime and immigration that many described as racist. He later apologized for his comments on his channel and claimed he would stay out of politics to focus on gaming and comedy.
In the last 24 hours, Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter page has been slammed with angry responses and refund requests.
“The way you are letting your political biases affect past business is despicable and the way you treat those who financed you is even worse,” a backer wrote. “Banning and trying to silence the group who wanted you to make a good game regardless of if our political beliefs differ is so egotistical and out of touch. It is censorship plain and simple and censorship is one of the major evils our society is facing; you are part of the problem.”
Kickstarter does not actually issue refunds themselves, and the relationships between backers and creators are typically informal. Playtonic could issue refunds for the game if they felt they were getting bad press, but it’s certainly in their rights to refuse.
Some backers are saying they will just refund the game once they get the download code. Backers who donated $15 or more get a free copy of the game, so they may be able to refund the copy. But most sites don’t give refunds for free download codes.
Alleged racist JonTron has been pretty chill about the whole situation. He issued a statement on Twitter, expressing his disappointment while still supporting the game.
Unfortunate to see Playtonic remove me from Yooka Laylee, but I understand their decision. I wish them the best with their launch!
— Jon Jafari (@JonTronShow) March 23, 2017