Halo Infinite insensitive Juneteenth color palette quickly removed in recent update

Halo Infinite's "Juneteenth" nameplate.
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Update (June 15, 12:54 a.m.): 343 Industries founder apologizes for the title. 

Clarification: Xbox PR clarified that it was the color palette that used the "Bonobo" name and not the nameplate. The story has been updated.

What you need to know

  • 343 Industries is facing backlash after the studio added a Juneteenth-themed color palette called "Bonobo" to the game.
  • It was quickly renamed "Freedom" in a follow-up update, correcting the error.
  • 343i says that the palette was erroneously named after an internal developer tool and that it recognizes the offense it may have caused.
  • Windows Central reached out to 343 Industries for further comment but was told that the developers have nothing else to share at this time.

Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries is currently facing significant backlash from the Halo community after a color palette for a nameplate called "Bonobo" was added to the game on June 14. The nameplate is themed after Juneteenth, a U.S. holiday celebrating enslaved Black people's emancipation. When you consider that associating Black people with primates is a common form of racist and discriminatory rhetoric, it should be abundantly clear why this is a problem. 

After many Halo community members took to social media to bring attention to this issue, 343 Industries quickly updated the title of the palette to "Freedom" to address the problem. At the time of writing, the palette still bears this label.

343 Industries Senior Community Manager John Junyszek responded to fan inquiries about why the color palette was named "Bonobo" in the first place, stating that the title was the name of a developer tool and that it was erroneously applied.

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"We strive to create diverse and inclusive gaming communities. While the original name refers to an internal toolset, it was not intended to be applied to this content and we recognize the harm it may have caused," Junyszek said. "The palette was incorrectly named and we immediately renamed it via an update."

Windows Central reached out to 343 Industries for further comment on the matter, but we were told that the developers "don't have anything additional to share at this time."

Update

Founder and Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross has apologized for the color palette's title on behalf of the studio. 

"We are a studio and franchise that is committed to inclusivity where everyone is welcome and supported to be their true self," wrote Ross. "On behalf of 343, I apologize for making a celebrated moment a hurtful moment."

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.