Skullgirls developer Mike Zaimont, otherwise known as Mike Z, has apologised after making a “bad joke” referring to George Floyd’s final words before his death at the hands of police officers.
While commentating Skullgirls gameplay on Ryan Price’s Twitch channel, a caster remarked how a fighter was “suffocating” their opponent, before Mike Z replied: “Would it be fair to say that, you can’t breathe?"
The remark was met with a long pause of silence from the other casters, while the chat filled with disapproving comments.
The “joke” refers to George Floyd’s final words “I can’t breathe”, which has become a phrase used by protestors in the US against police brutality.
Shortly after the stream, Mike Z issued an apology on TwitLonger, branding it “stupidly insensitive” and explaining how he immediately regretted the comment.
“I’m wholeheartedly sorry for making a much-too-soon comment that was definitely in poor taste,” the post reads. “What matters is how it came out, not my intent, and it came out super badly.
I FULLY apologize. I said something stupidly insensitive, and I regret it.— Mike Zaimont (@MikeZSez) June 5, 2020
“I have tried to be sensitive to all types of equality issues in every aspect of life, but I’m not a public person or a great speaker and some of what I say is stupid junk. This single bad joke doesn’t represent my views on racial inequality or on the systemic injustice present in the United States.
“I hope the rest of my actions in life are a testament to that.”
Skullgirls is one of the big titles at EVO Online (Picture: Lab Zero Games)
He added: “If people prefer I not commentate anymore, I’m more than happy to oblige.”
Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, who recently had his own NPC character in Skullgirls, defended Mike Z over his comments in a Twitter thread.
“Mike is one of my best/closest friends to me, especially knowing what he values and what his feelings are, so it is only natural for me to forgive him more easily than others, especially when he holds himself accountable,” SonicFox wrote.
Mike is one of my best/closest friends to me, especially knowing what he values and what his feelings are, so it is only natural for me to forgive him more easily than others, especially when he holds himself accountable.— SonicFox 1312 (@SonicFox) June 5, 2020
You dont have to do the same. Its perfectly fine.
“You don’t have to do the same. Its perfectly fine.
“As his friend I will ensure he makes good of his promises, that you can count on.”
Skullgirls is set to be one of key games at EVO Online, alongside Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, Killer Instinct and Them’s Fightin’ Herds.