Swedish RPG company World of Darkness apologises after using picture of Tāme Iti in upcoming rulebook

Swedish RPG company World of Darkness has apologised after using picture of Tāme Iti in its upcoming rulebook.
Swedish RPG company World of Darkness has apologised after using picture of Tāme Iti in its upcoming rulebook. Photo credit: Getty / Reddit

A Swedish tabletop game maker has apologised for using an illustration of Tāme Iti in the upcoming publication of its rulebook.

In a page posted on Twitter on April 27, company World of Darkness shared information about the 'Glass Walkers tribe' from its upcoming rulebook Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

That tweet, which has subsequently been deleted, was shared on Reddit with user UnusualSoup saying: "So a game called World of Darkness has stolen someone's image for their game. And that is making me feel a bit sick. The person on the right is called Tāme Iti. Please don't steal/appropriate people for your game. Especially if you don't understand their culture."

When asked how they knew the image was stolen, UnusualSoup replied: "Because he is very against other people using his image, famously so."

On Wednesday, World of Darkness posted a statement saying: "A piece of art in the Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition Core Rulebook contained an illustration that depicted the likeness of Tāme Wairere Iti, a key figure of the Māori protest movement, as a member of the Glass Walker tribe of the Garou. 

"We apologise to Mr Iti and to the Māori community for any harm caused.

"We have taken action to remove the art from the digital PDF and physical copies of the book, which will be available in August.

"We missed the mark and are reviewing our image approval process to catch these instances before our books go to print. We are grateful to the World of Darkness community for contacting us about the illustration."

Reaction to the apology includes comments urging the company to review the rest of the book.

"It's probably time to do a full audit of all the art in the book before release to ensure no other likenesses or art are stolen by your contributing artists," one said.

Another asked the company to make sure any future publications showed respect.

"I hope you are consulting with Indigenous communities as you go," a commenter said.

In 2020, the high profile Cyberpunk 2077 came under fire for using tā moko as a customisation option in the game.

Developer CD Projekt Red never addressed the criticism.