Wizards of the Coast, the company behind the popular competitive card game Magic: The Gathering, announced on Wednesday that it was banning seven cards from tournaments and removing them from an online database because of “racist or culturally offensive” imagery.
The main card highlighted in Wizards of the Coast’s statement about the ban was one originally printed in 1994 under the name “Invoke Prejudice,” featuring an image of ghostly figures wearing Ku Klux Klan-esque hoods.
“The card is racist and made even worse by the multiverse ID it was unfortunately codified with years ago,” the statement reads, referring to the card’s original identification number in the Gatherer online database, which presents information on all Magic: The Gathering cards.
Originally, the “Invoke Prejudice” card was filed under the number 1488, which, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s database of hate symbols, is a combination of two numbers with coded meanings. The number 14 refers to the so-called “14 words” slogan of white supremacy: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The two eights signify the Nazi greeting “Heil Hitler,” as the letter “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
“The events of the past weeks and the ongoing conversation about how we can better support people of color have caused us to examine ourselves, our actions, and our inactions,” Wizards’ statement said. “We appreciate everyone helping us to recognize when we fall short. We should have been better, we can be better, and we will be better.”
The “Invoke Prejudice” card is no longer categorized in Gatherer under the number 1488 and has had its artwork replaced with the message: “We have removed this card image from our database due to its racist depiction, text, or combination thereof. Racism in any form is unacceptable and has no place in our games, nor anywhere.”
A number of other cards — including ones with the names “Cleanse, “Jihad” and ”Pradesh Gypsies” — received similar treatment.
The cards in question — especially “Invoke Prejudice” — raised eyebrows among Magic: The Gathering fans in the past, many of whom were quick to post images of the now-scrubbed artwork on social media. Some agreed with Wizards’ decision; others argued that the company should have taken action sooner, and some disagreed with the ban altogether.
Harold McNeill, the artist behind “Invoke Prejudice,” has made public statements on his Facebook page equating white privilege with having “fewer rights if you are white.” He recently shared a video of conservative commentator Candace Owens, agreeing with her views and arguing that “castrated bitch men & withering harpy women are a cancer to all that is sincere & honorable.”
After issuing its statement on Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast announced on Twitter that it would be “starting a review of every card we have printed” going forward and would not hesitate to ban future cards if other problematic imagery was uncovered.