Borderlands 2′s Tiny Tina accused as racist, Gearbox responds

Monday, 4th February 2013 12:25 GMT By Dave Cook

Borderlands 2 features some totally bat-shit crazy characters, but none are as loop as enfant terrible Tiny Tina, the game’s resident child bomb-maker. Gamers have called out Tina’s dialogue as racist in a Twitter spat with the game’s lead writer. The result? She may be patched in future.

PC Gamer reports that it all started with this:

That’s Mike Stacco, creative developer at Cryptozoic Entertainment tweeting to Borderlands 2 lead writer, Anthony Burch, creator of Tiny Tina. Stacco’s tweet kicked off a backlash from fans, who chipped in their own two cents on Tina’s dialogue:

Even Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford got involved:

You can check out the whole daisy-chain of events via PC Gamer’s piece at the link above, but it ended with this:

There has been no word on whether or not Tina will be changed. But what do you think? Are terms like ‘crunk’ and ‘badonkadonk’ racially charged, or are they justt he mindless yammering of a psychotic child? Let us know below.



  1. Deacon

    It’s Borderlands! I thought the whole game was supposed to be played with tongue firmly in cheek? no?

    Just as my faith in humanity was raised due to Ni no Kuni no. 1, some fuckers gotta go and knock it straight back down again don’t they.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. daytripper

    Oh for fuck sake

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Lutz

    Anyone who says that Tiny Tina is racist clearly doesn’t know what the word bloody means.
    She speaks funny. Oddly. Tiny Tina-ery. That’s her character. So does half the friggin’ planet, from local dialects, to class differences, to cultural differences, to in-jokes in social circles. It’s part of life. Games are not meant to be full of righteousness and all morally correct and inoffensive. How dull would that be?

    “white girl talkin’ like them urban folk” is about as offensive as kittens. Mike Sacco really could do with getting his overly politically correct head out of his arse. Should we get rid of Moxxi cos she shows a lot of breast and that could be offensive/degrading to women?

    Anthony Burch has simply created a great, funny and quirky character who adds to the vast palette of flavours that Borderlands offers. Kudos to him (And naturally to everyone else at Gearbox for making a superb title that doesn’t confirm to PC rubbish)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. absolutezero

    I wonder why Birch choose to have her talk in ebonics in the first place. What does it say about her character through association with the group that normally talks like that?

    Is it meant to be a hee hee little girl talking like the black folks how qaint OR it could be that a hell of alot of girls of that age now talk just like that. Just like most of the teenage population of London all talk like they’ve grown up in a housing scheme.

    I also don’t think Mike Sacco was being entirely serious.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Golden

    Bunch of bollocks. I found Tiny Tina to be a charming character.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. fightclubdoll

    If you REALLY look at Tiny Tina’s lines, she’s overtly sexual. If anything, I would have expected some discussion of that at some point, but no one has raised the issue.

    I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.

    Roland is not limited to speak in a stereotypical manner either, so why should Tiny Tina have to sound like someone else?

    This game is NOT about presenting characters that have been filtered through a mesh of political correctness, it is about characters however. And characters need identities.

    Borderlands 2 has tremendous variety, I struggle to think of any game that presents a wider assortment of characters and personalities.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. blackdreamhunk

    to be honest I have not played the game and watch her on youtube she seems fine to me. Not sure who is yelling racism or why?

    Tiny Tina Montage – Borderlands 2

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Mineral4r7s

    god damn racists seeing racism everywhere. And yes I am talking about this Sacco guy.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. mreko3230

    @6 “I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.”

    That sums it up perfectly. So, is it racist if a black character speaks “white”. NO, thats ridiculous, because there in this day-in-age their is no “black” speak or “white” speak. Language, do to our ever increasing shrinking world, has amalgamated. In fact, I would go so far as to say that thinking she is speaking “urban” is racist in its self. The fact that your mind would jump to black person when hear Tiny Tina speak says more about yourself than about the game.

    Played hours of BL2 and I love Tiny Tina (I know, thre are lots of people that hate her) I neve once thought for even one millisecond that she was speaking “ebonics” or “urban”, I thought she was speaking like Tina Tina. My favorite part of things like this is when white people go bat-shit over “racist” things that black people haven’t even brought up.

    This seems like a great way for Mike Sacco to include himself in a conversation that no one was having.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. roadkill

    I’ve just sent mike a loving message about stuff that I’m not allowed to talk about here. Because people might miss understand or because people are simply to weak minded. Anyway, I think he will like it. :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    Oh for fucks sake.

    This is fucking stupid.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. SlayerGT

    @6 “I maintain that the color of her skin does not disqualify her from speaking in a dialect. It is, in fact, racist to say that she CANNOT speak in a dialect BECAUSE she’s not the RIGHT color for it.”

    Here here.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    Before you know it, they will complain about the new VW superbowl ad.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. foofly

    Ok. How about I mod the game changing Tina’s skin texture to black, and make it available for people who have a problem with it? Will that be okay for them?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    You have got to be kidding me. If Gearbox really bow to those PC pussies, I don’t think I can take them seriously.

    Verbal blackface? Blackface is meant to be demeaning and make fun of black people. Tiny Tina makes fun of herself.

    Deus Ex: HR had a black transvestite prostitute that talked like a 19th century slave, but that didn’t bother anyone.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @14: You probably would have more people complain about it.

    @15: It did! Though i don’t remember her being a “transvestite prostitute”.

    Gotta love the PC Bullshit comments.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DirtyBojanglez

    As a black guy who hangs around a bunch of black gamers, we think Tiny Tina’s hilarious. I know white people that talk more ‘hood’ than me so it’s not racist at all. It’s funny as hell that a little girl has missiles called ‘badonkadonks’ though.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    @16 I could be wrong about that. Still sounds like a dude though.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. YoungZer0

    @18: That’s bad voiceacting for ya, brotha.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. demondownload

    As dumb as the original “Tina is racist” accusation (coming, based on their Twitter avatars, mainly from white people) is, nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than the “if you say white people can’t talk like that then you’re reverse racist” bullshit that’s been kicked up by this whole discussion.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ManuOtaku

    I think seeing this things voiceless characters in this industry should remain that way, no one knows what a bunch of people might accuse them when they open their mouths for the first time.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. PenTaFH

    Hooly shit. Got a few thoughts runnin through my noggin’ right now

    If anything, people should be worried that a 13-year-old girl is so focused on sex stuff in her vocabulary.

    Claiming that the way a certain dialect or use of vocabulary may only be used by people of any specific persuasion is pure racism in and of itself.

    Considering the fact that Tiny Tina is a 13-year-old girl in a messed up world whose parents were killed in front of her and now (apparently) is on her own, she should be crazy. And she is.

    Basically all of this is nonsense. Tiny Tina is awesome and should be kept as-is.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Cobra951

    Any *fictional* character can be made to say or do whatever its creator pleases. To anyone who would deny such basic freedoms, fuck off. To any writer who would give in to such miscreants, grow a spine. @2 & 11, indeed.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. TheWulf


    Insight sans rage in a VG24/7 comment. I wasn’t expecting that.

    If it was in my capacity to offer you some kind of award, I would.

    I think everyone else just kind of skipped over your comment and used this as a launching board for anti-PC rage. Because, hey, binary thinking. Everything has to fall under politically correct (0) or not politically correct (1).

    #24 2 years ago
  25. nhowell14

    oh god, please do not let them ruin another amazing game just because someone’s expression has offended another.

    Seriously people get the fuck over it already. Racism is no longer valid this day and age, nor homophobia nor choice of religion, nor gun rights.

    There are stupid people, and then there are the severely stupid and rich people who get whatever they want. It’s the state of the world, if you don’t like it change it. Trying to reduce everything else to a bitchfest is just a waste of time.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. SP4NKY56

    I don’t see any reason to change Tina. She is a great character for the game. If her character offends.. Don’t play. It is as simple as that.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. kidsasuke

    I think the people making the comments about Tina being a racist character need to go take a nap; they’re far too cranky to be intelligent about this. Is it racist for a white character to be nerdy or uptight? Are we going to neutralize everything, focusing all of our energy on making sure that NO race has ANY kind of stereotype represented? How about we just have fun and forget all about race. Unless we’re keeping people from having jobs/children/homes, or beating/ostracizing/killing them based on race; I advise people just shut the hell up and go on with their lives.

    #27 2 years ago

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