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ESPN delays Apex Legends tournament broadcast after mass shootings

The EXP Invitational will not air ‘out of respect for the victims’ of the most recent mass shootings

Apex Legends - Pathfinder uses its grapple Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Apex Legends’ EXP Invitational tournament highlights will no longer be shown on ESPN 2 as they had previously been scheduled. According to an email obtained by Rod “Slasher” Breslau, the network decided to delay the broadcast due to the tragic mass shootings that occurred last weekend. The scheduling change has been confirmed by Polygon.

“Out of respect for the victims and all those impacted by the recent shootings, ABC will no longer air ‘EXP Invitational APEX Legends at X Games’ on Sunday,” ESPN said in an email sent to affiliate networks. In its place, ESPN will air an episode of its E:60 series about a tragic bus crash.

ESPN’s broadcast of the tournament is being rescheduled to Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN 2, with reruns to follow on Oct. 15 and Oct. 27.

The EXP Invitational competition itself already aired on ESPN’s streaming services, Twitch, and YouTube channels last weekend. The program on Aug. 11 would have been a collection of highlights that served as a recap of the tournament.

According to the email obtained by Breslau, the internal announcement of this schedule change was made Tuesday, Aug. 6, just one day after President Trump blamed the mass shootings in both El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in part on violence in the media, including video games.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said during a press conference on Monday. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this.”

The Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry’s largest lobbying organization, responded to President Trump’s claims quickly. “More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games,” said an ESA spokesperson, “and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the US.”

Deflecting blame for mass shootings toward the video game industry is commonplace in the current administration. Meanwhile, studies have shown no link between video games and real-world violence.

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