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Fortnite disables dance moves in Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute

March Through Time recreation of 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech quickly marred by disrespectful and racist use of in-game emotes

Epic Games' commemoration of the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Fortnite was amended a day after launch in the wake of disruptive and disrespectful player behavior.

The March Through Time experience launched August 26, recreating the Lincoln Memorial and US National Mall where King delivered the speech, and incorporated informational exhibits and collaborative minigames for players.

The next day, Fortnite's official Twitter account for service updates informed players that "All emotes have been disabled in the March Through Time experience," with the exception of eight that were designed specifically for the event.

The replies to that announcement give an indication as to why, with pictures and images of Superman and cartoon character Rick Sanchez using the "raise the roof," "get schwifty," and "ride the pony" dance emotes as King's speech plays on a screen in the background. Another shows a white police officer using the "whipcrack" emote toward Black avatars in the experience.

One reply shows the "D.C. 63" spray players can unlock in the experience apparently being thrown into the game's existing "Everything's Fine" dumpster fire spray.

The behavior of players likely would not have been a surprise to Epic. Last year the company streamed a Black Lives Matter panel discussion in the game, only to find players respond by using an in-game emote to throw tomatoes at the screen.

Update: The March Through Time experience is schedule to remain available for a year. An Epic representative told GamesIndustry.biz the company had no further comment to make beyond what was on the service update Twitter account.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.