Images from a DeviantArt blog were circulated on Twitter in July 2021 containing sexist and derogatory language directed at women and African people.
At the time, Klein made a statement on Twitter explaining that he was “embarrassed, sad, and angry at my younger self” and that he “apologised unreservedly” for what was said.
I was recently confronted with some awful statements I made on a blog I wrote back in 2007. I take full ownership for the things I said, and I'm embarrassed, sad, and angry at my younger self for saying this stuff. I hope it is obvious that I don't believe these things anymore.
— Daniel Zenon Klein (@danielzklein) July 27, 2021
In addition, Klein’s colleague, Ryan K Rigney, Respawn’s director of communications spoke in support of the game designer, explaining that “I don’t think anything from 2007 reflects on a person in 2021”.
Daniel sent me the video himself to make me aware of it—Regarding the comments: I don't think anything from 2007 reflects on a person in 2021. People grow up. And accusing him of "possible sexual assault" is over the line, you should never say stuff like that without evidence.
— Ryan K. Rigney (@RKRigney) July 27, 2021
In a statement to Fanbyte, an EA spokesperson described the comments on July 29 as “disturbing, and we certainly don’t condone the point of view expressed. Our [human resources department] is aware and investigating”.
According to the site, Klein was let go on August 6 with the former Apex Legends game designer confirming the news in a series of tweets a few days later.
Klein tweeted that he was “heartbroken and depressed” at the decision and that it’s “been a very dark few days”. He went on to explain that he “wholeheartedly [agrees] that THAT guy should have been fired” referring to his younger self but explained that he had “poured so much energy into becoming a better person since then”.
Before joining Respawn, Klein was fired from Riot Games in 2018 for allegedly not co-operating with the company’s social media policies. He used his social media platform to defend League of Legends PAX West events that were exclusive to women and non-binary attendees and commented directly on the toxic culture seen at Riot.
In other news, senior Diablo IV developers and a World of Warcraft designer have left Activision Blizzard with rumours suggesting this is tied to recent allegations at the company.