The BBFC has dismissed suggestions that a particular scene in Resident Evil 5 is racist.
A scene was reported where a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men, as our preview put it. Then: When you attempt to rescue her, she’s been turned and must be killed.
The BBFC’s Sue Clark responded:
In the version [of the scene] submitted to the BBFC there is only one man pulling the blonde woman in from the balcony, and I can’t say the skimpiness of her dress impressed itself on me. The single man is not black either.
As the whole game is set in Africa it is hardly surprising that some of the characters are black, just like the fact that some of the characters in an earlier version were Spanish as the game was set in Spain.
We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism. Even there was an issue: the BBFC would not automatically cut a work for racism.
We would normally give a work a higher rating to take it away from younger consumers who might not understand the issues surrounding racist remarks or attitudes. In this case the game is already rated 18 by us, so we would be unlikely to intervene further.
The BBFC have also explained their uncut 18 decision:
Resident Evil 5 is the latest game in Capcom’s survival horror series. This time Chris Redfield investigates a possible biohazard outbreak in Africa. It is the first game in the series to be released on the next generation Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles.
The game was classified ’18’ for strong bloody violence and gore. As with previous games in the series we see blood spurts from the infected enemies’ bodies as they are shot, and their heads being blown off by gunfire. The player’s character also bleeds when shot, and can be decapitated if killed by a chainsaw-wielding enemy. In this instance we see the chainsaw blade cutting into the player’s neck with blood spurting from the wound, although the actual decapitation is masked by the camera angle. When killed, bodies disappear within seconds, usually with a bubbling mass of liquid signifying their death. Some of the human enemies spout tentacles if their head has been blown off, with the organism controlling the person forcing them to stagger towards the player in a last-ditch attack. The player is also able to stomp on enemies as they lie on the ground, sometimes resulting in a large spray of blood. During some ‘cut scenes’, we also see a character put their fist through an enemy’s chest with sight of spraying blood as a result.
At ’15’, the BBFC’s Guidelines state that ‘violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury’, and that ‘the strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable’. In the case of Resident Evil 5, there is frequent violence that dwells on such detail, and some strong gory images that go beyond a level that would be suitable for a game classified ’15’. Therefore the game was given an ’18’ certificate.
The game also contains one use of strong language.