Posted on March 18, 2024

Woke Video Game Designer Refuses to Hire White People

James Saunders, GB News, March 15, 2024

A video game developer has found herself at the centre of a race row after footage of her boasting of having no white people on her team at work because they were “hard to work with” emerged online.

Dani Lalonders, an associate narrative designer at Cliffhanger Games, the EA-owned studio behind an upcoming Black Panther game, had made the comments in 2021 while she was lead producer on a “romantic visual novel” game called ValiDate.

In a video recirculated by Libs of TikTok, Lalonders said: “I have a team of 21 right now for ValiDate – it’s a pretty big team, it’s a crazy big team for an indie game.

“But who is your team? ValiDate has a team of mostly – all – people of colour. We have no white people on our team.

“I did that because I wanted to create a safe environment and I know the best way for an environment to be safe is to be around people who are just like me.

“I’m not saying that white people in the industry are creating unsafe environments – I’m not saying that, that’s not what I’m saying.

“I’m saying that sometimes it is hard to work with white people because they think that something may be okay – but really, it’s a microaggression.

“No-one wants to deal with that while you’re trying to make a game that they love.”

Libs of TikTok, which frequently highlights ‘woke’ controversies online, took aim at Lalonders’ current employer Cliffhanger, demanding to know whether “not hiring white because they’re ‘hard to work with'” was part of the studio’s official policy.

When a social media user claimed she was “openly racist and should be investigated and charged”, Libs of TikTok replied with a succinct “yes”.

The footage also drew attention from X owner Elon Musk, as well as tens of thousands of commenters; one said Marvel – on whose character, Black Panther, the game is based – would “lose a lot of customers if it continued to employ this openly racist game developer”.

Others accused Lalonders of “double standards”, and said they were “getting tired of all the woke racists”, while some compared the backlash to that faced by beer brand Bud Light after partnering with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

But some came to Lalonders’ defence – one social media user said she “doesn’t hate white people”, and said people seeing her comments as “anti-white” was “nothing short of klan behaviour” in an “anti-black world”.

Lalonders still works for ValiDate, whose website boasts of “#OwnVoices narrative writing by an all people of colour team”, the hashtag referring to a movement to promote books “where the protagonist and the author share a marginalised identity”.

While Cliffhanger Games itself says it wants to hire “diverse, fearless artists” and is “looking for collaborative and inclusive people with diverse perspectives who will enrich our culture and challenge us”.

GB News has approached Lalonders, EA and ValiDate developer Veritable Joy Studios for comment.