The George Zimmerman trial is as much about preserving Trayvon Martin’s image as it is about prosecuting his killer for second-degree murder. Don West, Mark O’Mara and Zimmerman’s other legal defenders are depicting the slain 17-year-old as a weed-smoking, aggressive teenager that attacked his killer for no justifiable reason. O’Mara has even insinuated that Martin was responsible for his own death.
An application available in the Google Play Store is reinforcing this inaccurate portrait of Martin. “Angry Trayvon” portrays a hooded teenager enacting revenge on enemies in various cities. It pulls from the aspects of the case, as evidenced in the description of the application:
Trayvon is angry and nobody can stop him from completing his world tour of revenge on the bad guys who terrorize cities everyday.
Use a variety of weapons to demolish Trayvon’s attackers in various cities around the world.
As you complete a level, you will notice more bad guys coming at Trayvon at a faster pace and a deadlier attack.
If you like to attack from far, then purchase the ‘dagger’ as you will be able to throw it at your enemies for the kill.
If you want to dominate the leaderboards across the world, then make sure you collect the money that the bad guys will drop once you kill them to increase your score.
The application caused immediate outrage among Martin’s supporters. A Change petition was launched to urge Google to remove the application. It read in part:
This application unnecessarily promotes violence and exploits the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin. I am sure his parents [do] not appreciate the image of their son as a gun toting vigilante. The death of this young man is NOT A GAME. This developer is using the Google Marketplace to exploit the death of an unarmed teen for profit while simultaneously promoting violence. Given the racial and social climate surrounding this issue and the unfair depiction of a deceased minor who perished as a result of gun violence, we are asking that this application be moved from the Google Play marketplace immediately.
The Change petition has garnered 92 signatures, but the overall backlash on social media networks led Trade Digital, the development company responsible for “Angry Trayvon,” to remove the $1.99 app from the Google Play marketplace.
The app was erased on Monday night, but resurfaced briefly on Tuesday morning. It has since been removed from the Google store. Trade Digital had this to offer on its Facebook page:
“The people spoke out therefore this game was removed from the app stores. Sorry for the inconvenience as this was just an action game for entertainment. This was by no means a racist game.” The post has also been deleted.
Fast Company reports “Angry Trayvon” has been available since Dec. 25, 2012 and Trade Digital released an updated version on June 1.
It is another incident in a series of disrespectful and hurtful characterizations of Martin. The high-school junior lost his life at the hands of a volunteer neighborhood watchman. Yet, his character and his actions are on trial in the courtroom and in the land of public opinion. It is another attempt to demonize men of color in black bodies for simply existing.
And no, a mischaracterization of Trayvon Martin’s life is not worth playing with.