Daniel Klein, the now-former lead game designer on Apex Legends, has been let go from Respawn Entertainment, due to sexist and racist remarks he made in 2007. A video and screenshots of his old DeviantArt blog posts began circulating online last month, referring to women as having "moron chromosomes" and comparing African people to animals. Klein has since apologised, though it seems his days working on Apex are over.
After his 14 year-old comments began to surface last month, Klein took to Twitter to apologise, and explain that he has worked over the years to become better: "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."
He was supported at the time by his colleague, Respawn's director of communications Ryan K Rigney, who responded to a YouTube video that had gathered the comments and made further accusations against Klein.
"Daniel sent me the video himself to make me aware of it," Rigney tweeted. "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 10th, Klein announced that he was no longer working at Respawn. In a Twitter thread, he discusses his actions and apologises again for his remarks, explaining that he's "heartbroken" at the outcome of the situation:
"I have poured so much energy into becoming a better person since then, and right now I'm just very depressed because it feels like I'll never be able to make up for who I was.
"I said racist and sexist things, not because I deeply 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 a lot of people who loved me in spite of 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."
Speaking to Kotaku, Klein said: "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."
"I wished they’d taken a risk and kept me on, but I cannot ask anyone to take that risk."
I've reached out to Respawn Entertainment for comment on Klein's departure, and will update this post should I get a response.