The US Navy eSports team has faced repeated, self-inflicted PR scandals, including joking about racial slurs and US war crimes during an Among Us stream
According to a report from Vice, the US Navy has spent $2 million USD on marketing for its venture into eSports. This information came to light in documents obtained by Vice’s tech division, Motherboard.
Specifically, the Navy contracted a”full-service marketing agency” named Young & Rubicam, with the goal of reaching younger viewers and developing better recruitment techniques.
“The objective of this initiative is to develop a relationship between the Navy and the eSports community, to encourage these ingenuity seekers to view the Navy as aligning with their interests and providing the rewards that they seek, ultimately inspiring prospects to want to join the U.S Navy and the influencers to support or recommend the service,” said the document.
This comes after repeated PR disasters for the U.S Navy sports team, the Goats and Glory, as well as a call from some U.S Congressmembers to ban recruitment to military services via Twitch.
The Navy recruiters on @Twitch had two players in Among Us named after Nagasaki/the US war crimes in Japan and also a black crewmate named “Gamer Word,” referring to the n-word, which prompted this reaction:pic.twitter.com/jcSEiOosUr
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 13, 2020
Back in July, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, pushed for a total ban on military services using Twitch as a recruitment tool, although the vote was swiftly brought down. Over 100 Democrats joined Republicans in denying the measure. “It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms,” Ocasio-Cortez told Vice.
However, a possible ban on recruitment was the least of the Navy eSports team’s concerns. Earlier this month, the team streamed Among Us, with players naming themselves “Gamer Word,” “Hiroshima,” and “Japan 1945.” “Gamer Word” is a common euphemism for the n-word.