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Whore of the Orient title sparks potential Human Rights Commission complaint

Monday, 2nd September 2013 03:33 GMT By Brenna Hillier

City of Monash councillor Jieh-Yung Lo has called for Team Bondi to change the title of its next game, Whore of the Orient, and will take the matter to the Human Rights Commission if necessary.

The Age reports Lo is acting privately, not in his role as councillor, in drawing attention to a case which may be brought before the Human Rights Commission on grounds of racial vilification. He has called on Team Bondi to change the title and halt development of the project, although as a gamer himself and an L.A. Noire fan, would be content with a new title.

”It’s the use of the word ‘Orient’, more even than the word ‘whore’, that is the issue. The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities. It’s a 19th century racial-colonial conception and it’s especially painful for older people in the communities. That was a very bad time in China, and people don’t want or need to have that dragged up,” Lo said.

Lo criticised Screen New South Wales for awarding the project a $200,000 grant from the Interactive Media Fund; he argued that “Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship”, and that Australia needs “to build greater trust and cultural understanding rather than promote division and negativity”.

A spokesperson said Screen NSW does not proscribe the content of projects it funds, and said the title is an historical nickname for Shanghai, and does not refer to any content of the game.

Whore of the Orient was announced in late 2011 and is expected on next-gen consoles in 2015. No publisher has been announced, and all we’ve got of it so far is some allegedly leaked gameplay footage. Developer Team Bondi seems to have narrowly escaped closure.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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37 Comments

  1. For Blood

    Really? This is a thing? (guy complaining, not game)

    #1 1 year ago
  2. JimFear-666

    what an idiot…

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Sini

    you orient!

    nope.. doesn’t have the same ring that nigger does.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. DSB

    Human Rights Commission? Silly cunt.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. salarta

    This is a bit tricky of a subject. It took some thought to come to what I personally feel is a decent conclusion.

    I can kind of see what Orient would be considered such a difficult word to handle by those most affected by its past use. Oriental still gets some use, but is considered offensive by many. It’s also much trickier as the term is used in the title, which, hey, imagine how much of an uproar there would be if the word ‘nigger’ was used in the title of a film, video game, etc. Some people may think that ‘orient’ and ‘nigger’ are not equally offensive, but no one person is an authority on that.

    … On the other hand, Whore of the Orient is a term used in reference to the corrupt atmosphere in China during a specific time period. The word Orient may be felt as offensive, but it’s also being used within a larger historical phrase. In many ways, it’s a perfect title to emphasize the whole backdrop of the game. Any other title would fail to so thoroughly describe its content.

    It’s a tricky issue. Whatever title the game has, there’s a very good chance that people will be talking about the game a lot just like they talked about L.A. Noire, and since teenagers do play games above their age rating or at least know and talk about them, that could be trouble.

    Overall, I think the title should stay, as long as the content rating is suitably high. There are films with offensive words in their titles, and they get away with it because their content ratings are high.

    I also have to seriously wonder why it is that it took this long for anyone to level such a complaint. If the word Orient being used in this very specific instance, as a phrase meant to denote both a historical period and an atmosphere, was so bad, then I have to think someone would have complained much sooner than one whole year after its announcement.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Gekidami

    “The O word”? So the Orient Express is racist? Because theres loads of stuff, games, movies and books with that trains name in their title. I dont recall reading an article about him going to the Human Rights Commission over Orient Express: The Train Simulator.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. salarta

    @6: Because Whore of the Orient is more high profile, which leads to multiple possibilities. He may not have heard about Orient Express: The Train Simulator. He may have heard of it, but considers it not something to make a big deal about because it’s something with massive reach behind it. He may have actually done something after all, but because Orient Express isn’t high profile enough, it didn’t get reported.

    In any case. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient

    “Some in the United States consider “Oriental” an antiquated, pejorative, and disparaging term. John Kuo Wei Tchen, director of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute at New York University, said the basic critique of the term developed in the 1970s. Tchen has said, “With the anti-war movement in the ’60s and early ’70s, many Asian Americans identified the term ‘’Oriental’’ with a Western process of racializing Asians as forever opposite ‘others’.”[7] In a press release related to legislation aimed at removing the term “oriental” from official documents of the State of New York, Governor David Paterson said, “The word ‘oriental’ does not describe ethnic origin, background or even race; in fact, it has deep and demeaning historical roots”.[8]”

    Just the U.S. situation on the word.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. JimFear-666

    Shut up everyone here! You are all a bunch of Orient ok?

    #8 1 year ago
  9. fihar

    He specifically mentioned that it carries the same weight as the N-word. Is that not obvious enough?

    Please tell me you guys aren’t suggesting that he should just ‘get over it’.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Judicas

    It’s like argueing the word Asian has the same weight the N-word does :P They have stores ans signs, come try our Oriental food, Oriental physio etcetc, yet when someone as says the word they get all angry. I’ve never seen an African-American business advertise N-word food, then get annoyed about people using that word :P

    #10 1 year ago
  11. stalepie

    it’s an old nickname for Shanghai…

    http://history.stackexchange.com/questions/3130/why-was-old-shanghai-called-whore-of-the-orient

    the game takes place back then. Calling it “Paris of the East” wouldn’t make sense.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. ududy

    Enough. There are too many people today who think that in the name of not hurting anybody’s tender feelings they have the right to silence speech, censor content and prettify history. I’m sick of these morons and the army of bureaucrats that are only happy to serve them.

    They are the passive-aggressive tyrants of our times, trying to turn matters of taste and civility into legal matters subject to government control.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. mreko3230

    First, I remember the first day this title was announced. Everyone basically said, “No way this becomes the title of the game.” Secondly, I guess its a matter of who you are and what your background is. I remember talking to a Chinese-American girl and she refereed to a piece of art as “Oriental”. I said, “Isn’t that supposed to be offensive?” She looked at me like I was crazy. She had no idea what the hell I was talking about.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. deadloop

    Oh, the Asian is overreacting. I see…
    Let’s see how you would feel with titles such as

    1. American Whore
    2. African Whore
    3. Italian Whore
    4. Australian Whore
    5. English Whore

    You like that? Fucking bitches.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. ududy

    @14: Not that your examples are relevant in any way (you’ve completely missed the historical context, and the fact that “Whore” was not the problematic word here)), but if anyone wants to create a game named American Whore, that should be his prerogative. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. You can whine about it, but running to all kinds of agencies trying to shut up/modify projects that got names you don’t like is a dick move.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. mreko3230

    @14 I would be perfectly fine with a title of a game being “American Whore” in the context of a game and its story. Besides, being an American, I hear a lot worse things about Americans than that on a daily basis.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. expose the core

    Such a non issue. We would not be even having this conversation if it was a book or a movie named like that.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. deadloop

    @15 What an absolutely garbage response. You want historical context?

    Negro Cum-Dump Slaves: The Adventures of White Supremacy in America

    You gonna tell me that’s fine because it respects history?

    re:”Don’t like it don’t buy it”
    So you think my spending habits will prevent other people from being affected by its acceptance?

    The racist white guy (owner of the company) who can’t think of any other words to describe his game.

    Oriental is offensive to Asians. Whores is offensive to everyone. This racist white cunt uses both and you think the Asian guy, who is justifiably upset, is a dick.

    You’re worthless. Srs.

    @20 (same dumbfuck) My words are perfect descriptions for a dumb shit like you. I’m writing to YOU. I’m not making up game titles. How dumb can you be?

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Ekona

    @14

    English Whore I would not approve of. However, Whore Of England sounds fine. Oriental Whore would not be so good, but Whore Of The Orient is fine.

    It’s all about how you structure the title, rather than the words used in this case. One sounds descriptive, one sounds like a direct insult.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. ududy

    @18: “Garbage”, “Bitches” – and you’re complaining about unfitting game titles. Go get a clue in the mirror, Moron, and in the meantime improve your analogies: they show a distinct lack of common sense.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Fin

    Whore is offensive to everyone yep.

    I’ve always had a problem with the title.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. salarta

    @18: http://history.stackexchange.com/questions/3130/why-was-old-shanghai-called-whore-of-the-orient

    #22 1 year ago
  23. redwood

    i guess team bondi got exactly what they were looking for.. free press :) by simply using an offensive (read : retarded) name.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. DrDamn

    Probably a lot of the confusion here is that it’s not considered a globally offensive word. It’s more in the US, Canada and Australia. In the UK it’s widely used in literature and by Chinese people for businesses names (shops and takeaways for example). I’m married to a Chinese lady (originally from Hong Kong) and it’s not offensive to her. It’s an interesting point though. If the game is to be released globally then it needs to be sensitive to these issues, and if it’s developed in a place where this is an issue they should be more aware.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Dragon246

    God Of Whore 3
    Gears of Whore 3
    Uncharted 3 : Drakes Whore
    LA Whore
    Way of the Whore 5
    Unreal Whore 3
    Whorelands 2 (coming to Vita :P )
    GTF 5 (Grand Theft Whore 5)
    The Last of Whores
    World of WhoreCraft
    WhoreShock Infinite
    Whore Raider
    Whore Warriors
    PokeWhore
    Red Dead Whore
    Bully : Whore edition
    WhoreHunt 2
    WhoreQuest
    The Legend of Whore

    And many more….
    Is anyone offended?

    I think they are great game names, simply for lulz :D

    #25 1 year ago
  26. Ekona

    I genuinely have zero idea how the word orient/oriental could ever be considered offensive. Nigger yes, as that was pretty much always used as a derogatory term, but orient? Seems utterly bonkers to me, living in the UK.

    Calling someone an oriental lady would actually be preferable to calling someone a Chinese lady round these parts. It’s more floral, more pleasant to use than the strictly-correct term. I was once engaged to a girl from HK (hopefully not the same lady as DrDamn ;) ) and she never once mentioned anything like that either.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Fin

    Guys, ye do realise that words have different meanings and implications based on the country you’re in, yeah?

    #27 1 year ago
  28. Gheritt White

    I genuinely had absolutely idea that the term “oriental” is offensive. Is that just a North American thing, or am I just completely ignorant?

    #28 1 year ago
  29. Fin

    Wikipedia, so obviously take with a grain of salt, but ye should at least give it a skim

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient#Current_usage

    #29 1 year ago
  30. redwood

    @25 Red Dead whore..is very offensive mind you

    #30 1 year ago
  31. zinc

    I never knew “oriental” was supposadly offensive o_O

    I mean its used everywhere! He’s not making this up is he?

    Oh well, another day & another word I can’t use for fear off upsetting somebody :/

    #31 1 year ago
  32. deadloop

    This explains why oriental is offensive. Don’t beat yourself up. Lots of people have never been taught the etymology of words. Caring enough to learn is a good first step.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090813223401AAzO3WA

    #32 1 year ago
  33. viralshag

    Always thought it was bit of a stupid name anyway. It was always going to get some sort of reaction from somewhere and I guess this is it.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. Djoenz

    Some white people will never understand. Gotta love this kind of humanity.
    Never respects other cultures.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Gheritt White

    Thanks for the wiki link – I do feel kinda vindicated now, as I’ve always referred to my friends of Indian/Pakistani/Nepalese/Sri Lankan/Bangladeshi etc etc heritage as “Asian” and my friends of Chinese/Japanese/Thai/Malaysian/Korean etc etc heritage as “oriental”, and so far no offence has ever been taken.

    See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient#British_English for my reasoning.

    Well, the more you know, I suppose. I’ll watch my language next time I go to the USA.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. DSB

    @14 Bitch please, Americans call eachother far worse than whore on a daily basis.

    The fact that some poor guy feels his delicate little toes have been stepped on isn’t going to impress anyone.

    @33 It would be odd if that wasn’t the point. Fits pretty well with the impression I have of McNamara.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. DuckOfDestiny

    After a little reading, the word seems to have different usage depending on location.

    In America, it’s typically a derogatory word, whereas in Britain it’s not considered offensive at all. I have to say, when I read the title I was confused why it’d be considered offensive and now I know why, the more you know!

    If a race or group of people find it offensive and have a good enough reason for it, then fair enough. Although I can’t say that I’ve ever used the word myself or ever heard anybody else say it.

    #37 1 year ago

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