Search icon


09th Nov 2020

UK journalist removed from Watch Dogs video game due to ‘controversial remarks’

Wil Jones

Helen Lewis will be removed from the game

A British journalist is to be removed from the new Watch Dogs: Legion video game due to “controversial remarks,” publisher Ubisoft has confirmed.

Helen Lewis, who is a staff writer for The Atlantic, appears in two in-game podcasts in Watch Dogs: Legion. She will now be replaced in an upcoming update.

Ubisoft did not explicitly state what remarks from Lewis prompted her removal.

Lewis’ inclusion in the game had faced criticism on Twitter by those who consider her to have made transphobic comments in the past.

In 2017, Lewis penned a column for The Times entitled “A man can’t just say he has turned into a woman,” criticising potential new UK legislation to make it easier for trans people to officially change their gender.

She has since said she has been branded a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) and faced abuse online because of her comments.

“We were made aware of controversial remarks from a journalist whose voice-over performance appears in two in-game podcasts in Watch Dogs: Legion,” a Ubisoft spokesperson told Kotaku. “Neither Ubisoft nor the game reflect this journalist’s viewpoints.”

“The development team worked with an external producer to select speaker profiles for these podcasts and were not aware of the controversy at the time of booking or recording. While the in-game podcasters are following a pre-approved script and are not speaking in their own name or with their own opinions, we understand this collaboration itself may be seen as offensive and we deeply regret any hurt this has caused.

“In response, we will be replacing these two podcast episodes in an upcoming update and will reinforce our background checks for partners in the future.”

Watch Dogs: Legion is set in a fascist future London, and with the player taking part in a computer-hacker resistance movement. It is the third game in the Watch Dogs franchise, continuing on from 2016’s Watch Dogs 2.