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Scrabble Players Angered As 400 Racial Slurs Banned

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Scrabble Players Angered As 400 Racial Slurs Banned

Racial slurs have been banned from Scrabble, angering some members of the community (yes, there's a Scrabble community).

Mattel - which owns the rights to the game outside North America - has removed 400 derogatory terms from official lists, according to The Times.

The toy manufacturing company hasn't published a list of the axed terms, but words that used to be accepted in official word checkers are no longer playable.

The move hasn't gone down well with many members of the World English-Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA), with three prominent members quitting in protest.


Darryl Francis, an author who has overseen official Scrabble word lists since the 1980s, resigned over the decision, which he branded a PR stunt.

Mattel said the game must evolve over time - just as words do. Credit: PA
Mattel said the game must evolve over time - just as words do. Credit: PA

In a Facebook post, he said: "Words listed in dictionaries and Scrabble lists are not slurs. They only become slurs when used with a derogatory purpose or intent, or used with a particular tone and in a particular context.

"Words in our familiar Scrabble word lists should not be removed because of a PR purpose disguised as promoting some kind of social betterment.


"I am not prepared to roll over and accept the removal of words which have been demanded by Mattel - a list of words which I have to say has been sloppily put together."

Mattel insisted words would be continually reviewed to ensure the game remains 'family friendly'.

A spokesperson told LADbible: "In Scrabble - as in life - the words we choose matter. Words have the power to strengthen, encourage and honour, but they also can be used to weaken, discourage and disrespect.


"Evolving the ways in which we support and stand with historically excluded communities through our brands and products has always been a top priority for Mattel, and we've learned from the events of last year this work must be continuous."

They continued: "Scrabble is about harnessing the power of words for good, while finding and making words over equitable, fun, and fair gameplay.

"As language and connotations change over time, so must Scrabble, and just as we look to update the list with new words each year, we also must revisit words from the past.

"The removal of hate speech and definitions from the Scrabble word list is an important step for the game's inclusive progression and we hope to engage and educate ourselves alongside our players through the actions set forth above.


"This will be an ongoing process, and we are committed to updating language as connotations evolve."

Don't worry though guys, favourites such as 'chav' and 'milf' are still very much fair game; for the time being, anyway.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News

Jake Massey
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