Following the racist controversy surrounding Spelljammer’s interpretation of the Hadozee, Wizards of the Coast announces a new content review process.
Dungeons & Dragons will see a major change in its content review process following its recent racism controversy.
Developer Wizards of the Coast revealed new guidelines for revising its content after its sourcebook, spell scramblersparked complaints for its racist depiction of the Hadozee. In a brief statement on its blog explaining the changes, Wizards of the Coast said, “If we find that something we’ve created is harmful or hurtful to fans, we’ll fix it. Then we identify how it happened and how to do better in the future.” He went on to explain the harmful content included in the first impression of the new spell scrambler books, followed by the revelation that he would be changing his review process.
Spelljammer and Hadozee Backlash
A little after spell scrambler released, fans noted how his new background description for the Hadozee, a race of flying apes, eerily resembled that of the black experience with the Atlantic slave trade. The illustrations for the Hadozee caused even more outrage, as several appeared to draw on racist interpretations of black people. One, in particular, strongly resembled racist blackface minstrel art. A few days after the start of the backlash, Wizards of the Coast removed art and backstory of its online editions of spell scrambler.
As a result of this experience, Wizards of the Coast revealed that it will go through a multi-stage process that includes hiring outside cultural consultants to review new content at multiple stages of development. Every word, illustration, and map will now go through the same rigorous process through the text creation, art creation, and product review development phases to ensure that something similar never happens again. This new process begins with the reprinting of spell scrambler and will affect all future reprints of previously published material.
Despite the controversy, Wizards of the Coast has earned a reputation over the years for striving to eliminate racism in fantasy settings. This includes apologizing for the elderly Dungeons & Dragons materials containing ethnic, racial and gender bias in books and adding a content warning. Wizards of the Coast also updated the Vistani’s portrayal as part of Ravenloft due to their initial racist stereotypes of Roma on which they were based. For its famous trading card game, Wizards of the Coast forbidden racist Magic: The Gathering cards from the tournament settings as well as its online database.
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space published on August 16, 2022.
Source: Wizards of the Coast