It has been an odd week. We learned the first PS5 details. We got Cuphead on Switch. Joker came to Smash. Then Kotaku journalist, Laura Kate Dale, accused Nintendo and Atlus of using a disability slur in one of the Persona songs featured in Nintendo’s fighting title Super Smash Bros Ultimate. This is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:
“In the track ‘Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There’, if you skip to around 1:48 into the track, you’ll reach a section of the song where words are softly spoken rather than sung. At around 1:57 it appears the term “retarded” is used, and followed up by the assertion that “I can say it.” The official lyrics for the song, curiously enough, does not include this spoken word section.”
Then Kotaku published what they believe the lyrics to be. They didn’t bother investigating. They didn’t do research or talk to the many, many Persona fans on the internet. They just simply ran the story while waiting for Nintendo or Atlus to make comment. Unsurprisingly, people were unhappy:
Cutting edge journalism. It's amazing how posting stupid, badly researched stories likely gives you more traffic than anything else. Thankfully that's a trend.
— Ross O'Donovan (@RubberNinja) April 18, 2019
Idk. I don't think you mean any harm, Laura but creating an article like this when it could be a case of misheard lyrics doesn't seem fair. Heck, if it's because of an accent, this article even comes off as a little racist.
— Cody K (@Viewtifulyoshi) April 18, 2019
Now I love Persona 5. It’s a masterpiece. The music is fantastic and composer Shoji Meguro has created something timeless. I’ve never heard anything that sounded like that word so upon seeing this story I was curious. I checked out the song, as you can here, and at there is a spoken word section that isn’t included in several iterations of the lyrics. However, it’s pretty clear that the word retarded isn’t used. In fact, the only way that it would be possible to hear that word is if you wanted to. The track’s singer, Lyn, is a South Korean national and of course has an accent. She recorded multiple different versions of the track in multiple languages. The official lyric is ‘Retort it’. Instead of bothering to research this story, Kotaku literally jumped the gun in order to capitalise on the popularity of Persona and Smash at this moment in time. What happened then when Persona fans pointed out the issue? Did Kotaku retract the article and the author apologise? No. The person running their social media account decided to start throwing around ridiculous responses to the varying comments and abuse from Twitter users:
Actually a baboon is a distant relation relative to others. Maybe you should've called us chimps.
— Kotaku UK (@Kotaku_UK) April 19, 2019
We checked with Atlus who confirmed that the actual lyrics of the song do not include the word “retarded”.
I'm still not sure what the lyric says. Our mistake was to put the article live in a form where it sounded certain of our interpretation, when we should've waited for comment back, and tailored the piece to reflect peoples' confusion rather than being definitive about it.
— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) April 19, 2019