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NBA player and FaZe Clan streamer uses antisemitic slur in Warzone match, apologizes

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NBA player Meyers Leonard, a center for the Miami Heat, made productive use of the COVID-19 pandemic by becoming a streamer and joining the popular FaZe Clan. He's now got over 69,000 followers on Twitch (opens in new tab), and partnerships with brands who make controllers, headsets, PCs, and protein bars. You'd think all that might make him think twice about shouting an antisemitic slur while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, but apparently not.

"F—ing cowards, don't f—ing snipe me, you f—ing k— bitch," said Leonard, as his teammate in voice chat laughed in response.

Though the broadcast has since been deleted from Leonard's channel, the relevant segment was captured and uploaded to YouTube and has also done the rounds on Twitter. Which is why, when Leonard returned to streaming Warzone a day later, his chat quickly became flooded with comments about it. Most were deleted by moderators before the chat was switched to emote-only mode. The stream was then cut short (opens in new tab) when Leonard received a phone call, and disconnected from the match. "Chat, something came up," he told his viewers. "I gotta, um, go hang with my wife. Um, I will talk to you guys later."

Since this story was originally published, Leonard has released a statement apologizing for the slur and saying, "While I didn't know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse".

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This isn't the first time Leonard's caused controversy. During an NBA game in 2020, he remained standing (opens in new tab) while the other players on his team and their opponents, the Denver Nuggets, all knelt in a show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

It also isn't a first for FaZe Clan, who one year ago suspended Daniel "Dubs" Walsh for broadcasting a racist slur during a Fortnite stream (opens in new tab), and made all their members undergo sensitivity training. He subsequently apologized (opens in new tab), and has since rejoined the organization.

Thanks, Defector (opens in new tab).

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.