Apex Legends (YouTube)

Klein, who previously worked as a League of Legends designer at Riot Games, has had a contentious relationship with the Apex Legends community since joining Respawn Entertainment in early 2020. His progressive politics and work on gameplay balance for Apex Legends characters like Wattson often led to squabbles and harassment on social media, some of which Kotaku has seen play out first-hand. Some have posited that this may have been the driving factor for the discovery of these past statements.


When contacted by Kotaku for comment, Klein agreed with this theory.

“I fully own the awful, bigoted statements I made in 2007 and am disgusted with my younger self for making them,” Klein said via email. “But there’s also no doubt in my mind that they came to light because someone went looking for things to hurt me with. EA was aware of this allegation, and I specifically asked them to be on the lookout for these strategies being used against other employees in the future.”


Kotaku reached out to Respawn parent company EA about Klein’s termination and whether these contextual circumstances were taken into account, but didn’t hear back before publication.

Video game companies big and small are understandably on high alert following the publication of the state of California’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. Ubisoft leadership, who themselves were embroiled in a similar scandal just last year, are still being criticized by workers for their inaction. Fullbright co-founder Steve Gaynor recently reduced his role from creative lead to writer at the same time news broke about the “toxic” environment he contributed to at the Gone Home studio.


“I wished they’d taken a risk and kept me on,” Klein added in his email to Kotaku, “but I cannot ask anyone to take that risk.”