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6-year-old’s Call of Duty ban is a hoax

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RowdyRogan’s parents wanted him to go viral

RowdyRogan, a 6-year-old Call of Duty player, jumps in the air Photo: RowdyRogan/Twitter

RowdyRogan is only 6 years old, but the curly-haired tyke made waves in 2020 by becoming the youngest member in the Call of Duty World League. In addition to being featured in a number of popular videos showcasing his video game skills, he also has the distinction of being a finalist in recruitment challenge from esports organization FaZe Clan. Despite winning the public’s adoration, Rogan shared a video recently where he claimed that he was banned from Call of Duty: Warzone while he was live on Twitch.

But that video was not authentic, his parents later revealed, after the young Call of Duty player received widespread support over the fabricated ban.

Footage of the ban was shared on Rogan’s social channels, which are managed by his father. In the clip, Rogan appears upset as he buries his face in his father’s chest.

Polygon has reached out to Rogan and Activision but did not hear back in time for publication. Call of Duty: Warzone is rated M for mature, which under ESRB guidelines suggests that players should be at least 17. Activision’s own terms of service stipulate that the publisher’s products “are made available” to fans who are at least 13 years or older, “subject to any applicable Product age ratings, restrictions and Account requirements.” The company says that if a player is under 18, a parent or guardian “must review” the terms of service with their child.

In a different section about Activision accounts, the terms of service say, “Subject to any applicable age ratings or other restrictions, you may establish an Activision account only if (i) you are 18 years of age and a ‘natural person’ in your country of residence, or (ii) if your parent or guardian reads and accepts the terms of this Agreement and the Activision Privacy Policy on their and your behalf if you are aged 13 or over but under 18 years of age.”

The internet rallied around Rogan with a hashtag dedicated to defending his continued play. Twitch also has rules about minimum age requirements, which Rogan technically defies, though the young savant hasn’t been banned from the service. On Instagram, Rogan lists three different sponsors for his online content.

Update (Dec. 14): RowdyRogan’s parents said in a YouTube video published Friday that they fabricated the ban story in the hopes of making a video go viral, as a part of a challenge issued by esports organization FaZe Clan. In the video, the parents explain what going “viral” is to the six-year-old, who later suggests that perhaps getting banned, as another FaZe member did in 2019, could get people’s attention. “Like one million views in two days,” RowdyRogan says. To pull it off, the parents say they logged into Rogan’s account via a PC while he was live, to help sell the illusion to viewers on Twitch. The parents also say they edited the footage to make it sound like Rogan was crying, when in fact he wasn’t.

This story has been updated to reflect new details from Rogan’s parents.