It’s often said that the internet never forgets, and Daniel Z Klein, lead designer of Apex Legends, has caught up with his past…
Daniel Z Klein had a few offensive blog posts on DeviantArt, and the comments made there started to circulate on Twitter in late July. These images show that Klein had offensive remarks towards women and African people. Shortly after they surfaced, Daniel Z Klein, lead designer of Apex Legends wrote on Twitter: “I was recently confronted with some awful statements I made on a blog I wrote back in 2007. I take full ownership for the things I said, and I’m embarrassed, sad, and angry at my younger self for saying this stuff. I hope it is obvious that I don’t believe these things anymore.”
Ryan K Rigney, Respawn’s director of communications, stood by Klein: “Daniel sent me the video himself to make me aware of it. Regarding the comments: I don’t think anything from 2007 reflects on a person in 2021. People grow up. And accusing him of ‘possible sexual assault’ is over the line; you should never say stuff like that without evidence.”
But on August 10, Klein wrote several tweets, announcing his departure: “As of last Friday, I am no longer working at Respawn. I want to be very open here and say that I’m heartbroken and depressed. It’s been a very dark few days. You may or may not have seen the awful, bigoted things I said in 2007. I wholeheartedly agree that THAT guy should have been fired. I have poured so much energy into becoming a better person since then, and right now, I’m just very depressed because it feels I’ll never be able to make up for who I was.
I said racist and sexist things, not because I sincerely believed any of them, but because I knew I could get a reaction out of people. That does not excuse anything I said; the impact of my words was the same regardless of what I believed. I’m mentioning this because with the help of many people who loved me despite the shithead I was sometimes. I was able to make progress on the journey to becoming a better person. If my story can help one person out there in a similar position to see that there’s a way to become better, it would at least serve a purpose,” Klein wrote.
“The comments are disturbing, and we certainly don’t condone the point of view expressed. Our [human resources department] is aware and investigating,” Electronic Arts wrote in a statement sent to Fanbyte before Klein’s departure. “I fully own the awful, bigoted statements I made in 2007 and am disgusted with my younger self for making them. But there’s also no doubt in my mind that they came to light because someone went looking for things to hurt me with. EA was aware of this allegation, and I specifically asked them to be on the lookout for these strategies being used against other employees in the future,” Daniel Z Klein, lead designer of Apex Legends wrote in a statement sent to Kotaku.
Klein was previously fired from Riot Games in 2018 for not cooperating with the company’s social media policies, he claims. His departure came after his public defence of League of Legends PAX West events exclusive to women and non-binary attendees. “I was fired for violating our social media policy,” Klein told The Verge.
Electronic Arts has not made a statement about Daniel Z Klein, lead designer of Apex Legends’s departure yet.