During EA Play 17, EA showed a promotional video of YouTubers playing and enjoying Battlefield 1 to show off the community behind the game. The character Noob from animated YouTube series Battlefield Friends on the Needs Gaming channel introduced the reel. Needs Gaming along with Battlefield Friends is run by Hank and Jed Movie Pictures, known for their other popular animated series Doraleous and Associates.
The show is known not just for its great writing, comedy, and cast of likeable characters but for using transphobic slurs in some of their episodes.
As Video Game Critic Laura Kate Dale writes back in 2014, episode 48 had the cast tasked with finding a magical transportation portal before it can be used to summon an ancient evil. The “transportation hole” was called that only once and was referred to for the rest of the episode as the “tranny hole.” “Tranny” is a derogatory word aimed at Transgender people, and Dale writes that she’s had the word aimed at her by people intending to make her feel unsafe.
After watching the episode, Dale attempted to contact Hank and Jed to discuss the joke and come to an understanding. She sent several tweets to their Twitter account, sent a message through the contact form on their official site, and even sent a message through a personal Hotmail email address for Hank and Jed obtained from a colleague who worked with them in the past. She received no response.
Doraleous and Associates then released episode 49, the series finale. The episode continued the “Tranny hole” gag by not only having one of the characters say “the Tranny is ready to activate” two minutes in, having a string of four uses of “Tranny Hole” later in the episode, but by naming the episode “Tranny Hole #4.”
The series also has a running “Wetald Village” gag where they slightly change the word “Retard” to make jokes at the expense of certain characters.
After recommending the show multiple times to her followers in the past, Laura Kate Dale expressed that she will not be watching any more of the show and recommended that her followers also avoid getting into the show.
I am very disappointing that the show’s creators declined a week of attempts to secure an interview or to address my concerns and if either of them read this article I want them to know they lost a very vocal fan today by their refusal to acknowledge any of my concerns.
Dale then further explained her concerns with the joke and the argument she wanted to make to Hank and Jed.
A Cis person making a Tranny joke is punching down, they’re picking on a group that’s already the butt of their jokes, a group already seen as lesser than them in society. Making Tranny jokes reinforces this, it repeats the idea that just the mention of a Tranny is a funny thing. If I as a Trans person made a joke about being Trans that would be from a position of equal strength, making a joke about myself knowing where my line is for humor and taking ownership of that. If I made a joke about a Cisgender person I would be punching up, making a joke about a group with a more solid social standing than myself. I hope that addresses this issue as this is my biggest issue with the Tranny Hole joke, it’s a group of presumably Cisgender characters and actors making a joke at the expense of a group that already has a lot of hate directed their way, reinforcing the idea it’s funny to use this slur when referring to Transgender people.
We have reached out to EA, Dale, and Hank and Jed for comment.