Faze Kalei, a streamer and esports competitor accuses Activision of hypocrisy after being barred from serving as a Captain in an upcoming tournament.
FaZe Kalei is a streamer and TikTok creator who is best known for her prowess in FPS games like Apex Legends and Call of Duty: Warzone. She has been a member of FaZe Clan since mid-2021. Originally scheduled to appear in an upcoming FaZe Clan Call of Duty: Warzone event, Kalei was barred from becoming a captain in any Activision-affiliated events due to “oversexualized” Twitter activity, according to the publisher.
FaZe Kalei explained why she was barred from serving as a captain in FaZe Clan’s own competition in a now-deleted tweet, accusing Activision of hypocrisy after Raven Software, the developer of Call of Duty, temporarily changed its Twitter profile picture to a cropped image of another streamer’s backside tattoo. The extent of Kalei’s restrictions is unknown, but it appears that she will be able to participate in some capacity in the upcoming Call of Duty: Warzone event. Players of Call of Duty: Warzone may want to switch to Apex Legends to get their battle royale fix, according to the streamer.
Many in the community agreed that Activision was being overly cautious, citing several instances in which the official Call of Duty Twitter account retweeted sexually explicit content, the most infamous of which was an August 2021 highlight of a semi-NSFW music video from rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who is best known for her Mortal Kombat 11 cosplays. Others argued that Activision’s heavy policing of its community is counterproductive and that in an esports environment centered around an M-rated game, risqué content should be more acceptable.
Jake Lucky, an esports commentator, took a more balanced approach, arguing that, while the ban seemed unjustified, FaZe Kalei’s behavior on Twitter was at times particularly egregious.
With a history of jokingly posting vulgar tweets and images of inappropriate content, Activision’s concern may seem justified, especially in light of the numerous advertiser-friendly content issues that have arisen on streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Though FaZe Kalei has been banned from Twitch in the past, the Call of Duty publisher does not appear to be practicing what it preaches when it comes to moderation on its own official channels.
The ongoing workplace misconduct lawsuit that has been hanging over Activision Blizzard for the past few months is even more egregious. In September 2021, a number of employees filed a lawsuit against the publisher, alleging unfair labor practices and workplace sexual misconduct.
It’s possible that, as a result of the lawsuit, Activision is more invested in censoring explicit material, or that FaZe Kalei is being held to a higher standard than some of Activision’s upper management.