Scooby-Doo’s spectacled sleuth Velma Dinkley was branded a “Karen” by social media, after her special move in a new free-to-play video game was deemed racist.
In MultiVersus, a recently released multi-platform fighting game published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, players can battle as characters from various DC Comics, Cartoon Network, and HBO characters in a primarily 2-vs-2 format, similar to Super Smash Bros.
Velma, who hails from Turner Entertainment’s more than five decade old animated stoner detective series Scooby-Doo, had the ability to gather evidence while fighting and call the police on her enemy.
Once Velma collected enough evidence to power up, a player could use her special move to summon a squad car by holding up a wanted poster and pointing at her enemy, but players were quick to point out that a White woman calling the police was Karen-like behavior.
The move was considered particularly offensive when the ability was used against Black characters like “Space Jam” star LeBron James.
“I am enjoying Velma in Multiversus but maining a character [whose] special move is calling the police on her enemies definitely [doesn’t] sit right with me as a black man,” wrote one Twitter user. “Karen ultimate.”
“Karen” is a term used to describe entitled and vocally demanding white women who are known to weaponize white privilege to harass Black people, often by calling law enforcement.
One replier suggested that MultiVersus should replace the offending police car with Scooby-Doo’s Mystery Machine, which is ultimately what Warner Bros. did when they released a patch update on Thursday.
“Instead of calling the police, Velma now solves the mystery and calls the Mystery Inc. gang and the Mystery Machine to take the bad guys away,” the patch notes read.
Despite the change, some players are still in an uproar over the tone-deaf special move.
“The worst part about #Velma’s prior police calling tactic is that the picture she is holding is very clearly none of the characters, and the police arrest them anyway,” one person noted.
Others were quick to point out that the new alternative is still problematic, as the Scooby gang now essentially kidnap opponents instead of sending them to jail.
“The Multiversus team are geniuses,” another added. “They totally changed Velma’s police car into the Mystery Machine because of Lebron and so many people don’t notice and even think it’s more fitting even though the Mystery Inc. gang are now depicted as abducting criminals after a solved mystery.”