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The Real Reason Apex Legends Fired Its Lead Designer

One of the lead designers on "Apex Legends," Daniel Z. Klein, has been fired from Respawn Entertainment after the discovery of a series of offensive blog posts written in 2007.

The comments in question were found on a now-deleted blog Klein maintained on DeviantArt, which was recently shared on Twitter. The blog contained offensive statements about women and individuals of African descent. When the racist and misogynistic remarks were brought to light, Klein admitted on Twitter that he had written those comments, offering an apology and committing to personal growth.

However, that apology would not be nearly enough. Klein's Twitter apology was posted on July 27, and two days later, EA told FanByte, "The comments are disturbing, and we certainly don't condone the point of view expressed. Our [human resources department] is aware and investigating." News that Klein had been fired would come a little over a week later, on August 6.

The comments that led to Klein's firing follow patterns that are seemingly both in character and out of character for the designer. As reported by The Verge, Klein was previously fired from Riot Games for violating the company's social media policy while addressing a "League of Legends" controversy but describes himself on Twitter as a "Social Justice Wendigo." Here is the real reason why Respawn Entertainment fired Daniel Klein.

Daniel Klein has a history of aggressive social media posts

As a lead designer for Respawn Entertainment who frequently took to social media to defend changes made to "Apex Legends," Klein was already something of a notorious figure amongst the game's community.

In January 2021, one Reddit post called Klein's response to a comment by "Apex Legends" player TSM_ImperialHal "odd and childish." Shortly thereafter, Klein unleashed a Twitter post that called fans commenting on balance changes "nerds." That incident led one fan on the Twitter thread to call for his firing at that time, and Klein told Kotaku that there was "no doubt in my mind that [the comments] came to light because someone went looking for things to hurt me with."

The offensive statements were in contrast to Klein's past advocacy for marginalized groups. After a report from Kotaku revealed a culture of sexism at Riot Games, Klein posted a lengthy series of statements on Twitter calling out the sexist power dynamics in gaming. These posts were likely the reason he was ultimately fired from Riot Games less than a week later.

Some tried to defend Klein's comments by noting their age, such as Respawn Entertainment director of communications Ryan Rigney, who said on Twitter, "I don't think anything from 2007 reflects on a person in 2021. People grow up." However, "Apex Legends" pro Tsquared noted on Twitter that when Klein wrote those things, he was nearly 30, and comments of that nature are not welcome in the community.