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South Korean OWL broadcast culls coverage of Pride event

LGBTs Still Have A Tough Time In South Korea

There is no doubt that South Korea is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in Asia and perhaps also across the world. It is a country where democracy has taken strong roots. Hence, when the Overwatch League’s event known as LGBPTQ+ was held, there were reasons to be disappointed and even shocked. Many spectators may not have noticed but there are reasons to believe that the Korean team of Blizzard Entertainment took all care to see that the entire event was downplayed. It was not given the importance and publicity that perhaps it deserved. The reasons cited were childish and not many would believe that cultural reasons were the cause for downplaying the entire event.


Overwatch Has Had A Good Reputation

There is no doubt that over the years Overwatch and the league associated with it has always received praise as far as its attitude and approach to LGBPTQ+ issues are concerned. Its favorite hero, Tracer has been outspoken and has been vocal about his support for those who belong to the LGBT category. However, the sad thing is that last weekend the Korean Stream had a completely different story to tell. The producers shockingly sliced shots that contained the Pride signs of the fans. They also seemingly instructed casters not to make any mention of the Pride event.


What Could Be The Reason

There are many theories doing the rounds as far as the lack of interest on the Pride event on the part of the South Korean broadcasting team. Many believe that many of the team members still continue to have a conservative mindset as far as LGBTQ+ identity is concerned. It would be pertinent to mention here that last year around a thousand protestors belonging to the anti-gay group took part in a counter-protest when the gay pride parade took place for the first time. This took place in the city of Incheon.

According to a poll conducted by the NHRC of Korea, 93% of LGBT+ populace in Korea is quite frightened. This is because they could become easy victims of hate crimes. However, we also need to bear in mind that the Overwatch League is famous because it has good viewership from the Korean Market. Blizzard who was covering this event may have decided to play safe because they did not want to alienate Korean fans and also the players by making a mention of this Pride event.

The sad part is that fans of LGBTQ+ of Overwatch, who are liberal and broadminded, do not have anything much to cheer. Though they do welcome the values that are being propagated by Blizzard, this might not cut much ice. This is because the Korean producers at the end of the day decided to do away with the gay pride symbols that were a part of the broadcast last weekend.

Though Overwatch could be the flag-bearer for the healthy involvement of LGBTQ+ in various esports, changing the cultural mindset of millions of Koreans is still a tough task. It is the same in countries like the United States that are supposed to more practical and progressive. So, the LGBTQ+ supporters have nothing much to do but wait and watch.

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