Last week, Respawn revealed a partnership with Chinatown Market to bring skins based on the brand to Apex Legends, including the Sundown Desperado skin for Bloodhound and Mic Check skin for Lifeline. The set was scheduled to roll out on March 30, but Respawn announced today that it's been put on hold, as Chinatown Market itself is changing its name.
Chinatown Market announced the rebranding earlier this afternoon, saying that "the Asian American community is rightfully demanding all of us think and act more honestly."
huge update. proud to work at a company that considers its impact on the world at large. pic.twitter.com/JJo6mar3dUMarch 29, 2021
"Our name was inspired by the shops, people, and vibrance of Canal Street and Chinatown in New York but it's not our name to use," the company tweeted. "We did not do enough to consider what this name would mean to communities in Chinatowns across the world and we need to take ownership of this mistake. It's time to do the right thing and we are committed to be a part of the change."
The new name will be announced "in the coming months," and in the meantime that proceeds from existing Chinatown Market-branded products will be donated to non-profit organizations that support the AAPI [Asian American Pacific Islander] community.
It's fair to guess that the name change announcement came as a surprise to Respawn and EA, as Lifeline's Mic Check skin was revealed just yesterday. But just a couple hours after Chinatown Market's announcement, Respawn tweeted in support of it.
In support of our friends at @ChinatownMarket's decision to rebrand, we're holding the launch of in-game CTM-branded skins in @playapex tomorrow.The skins will come back with a fresh look after the rebrand.For more on CTM's decision:https://t.co/s2cpiGUVF8March 29, 2021
"In support of our friends @ChinatownMarket's decision to rebrand, we're holding the launch of in-game CTM-branded skins in @playapex tomorrow," it wrote. "The skins will come back with a fresh look after the rebrand."
The Chinatown Market name change comes amidst a sharp rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence in the US and around the world. A recent NBC report cited analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino saying that while hate crimes in 16 major US cities actually decreased by seven percent overall in 2020, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent. Much of the blame for the sudden spike is attributed to the racist rhetoric of former US President Donald Trump, who repeatedly used terms like “China virus” and “kung-flu” to describe the Covid-19 pandemic while in office.