UK-based charity Changing Faces is calling on the makers of Moshi Monsters to change the names of characters in its game that have offensive names. Changing Faces is a charity that provides support and information to people with disfigurements to the "face, hands or body, and their families."
The group objects to characters with names like "Fishlips" and "Freakface" in the game because they are based on how they look and are generally offensive to those with physical disfigurements. They say that these types of names also encourage children to bully other children with physical imperfections.
Changing Faces founder James Partridge told the Telegraph that the names in this children's game were "like something from the dark ages."
"Actions make people or characters evil not scars, marks or asymmetric features. For far too long, disfigurement has been a lazy shortcut for the entertainment industry to suggest that a character or person is evil," he added.
He goes on to say that terms like "gollywog" (a term for a black-faced doll in children's books in the late 19th century used as a racist slur for black people in the 1970s in Europe and Australia) are no longer acceptable, but names related to appearance are still allowed. Obviously the group is working to change that.
In a statement on the Changing Faces website, 17-year-old Lucas Hayward explains why he objects to the game's choices for names:
"I was born with frontal-nasal craniofacial dysplasia," said Lucas. "The day I started primary school, the name-calling started. ‘Pig nose, flat nose, elephant man and ugly’. It was relentless. The boys would punch me and stand on my head just because of the way I looked. Every kid I know is into Moshi Monsters and that’s why I’m supporting Changing Faces’ ‘Don’t call me Freakface’ campaign. These names are terms of abuse but they are getting the message from Moshi Monsters that it is ok to call someone this if they have scars, spots or a missing eye. Believe me, it’s not ok."
Changing Faces has launched an online petition to urge Moshi Monsters maker Mind Candy to change the names of a number of characters including "Freakface," "Fish Lips," "Bruiser," and the descriptions of some characters who are depicted as being scarred and scary due to physical disfigurements.
Mind Candy has publicly apologized for causing any offense, according to The Telegraph, and said that it was surprised by the online petition because - it claims - it has been talking to the charity since last March and has discussed the possibility of "developing storylines to support its work."
We will have more on this story as it develops.
Source: The Telegraph