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Israeli power company urges Epic to remove pole climbing from Fortnite

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An open letter to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney asks for the company’s help in ‘preventing the next tragedy’

Fortnite Image: Epic Games

The Israel Electric Corporation, which provides the nation’s electricity and is responsible for much of the requisite infrastructure, is unhappy with Fortnite’s depiction of player characters freely climbing up electric poles. In an open letter by senior VP Oren Helman, the IEC notes that it has invested “enormous resources in educating the public about the dangers of climbing electric poles,” and it asks Epic Games to discontinue its depiction of that act as a jaunty activity. The game features wooden utility poles, but it’s news to me that players can actually climb up on them.

The phrasing of the letter makes it apparent that the people authoring it haven’t played Fortnite, and also that they use a spellchecker that doesn’t recognize the phenomenally popular game’s name. They are right that Fortnite is beloved by an audience of young and impressionable players, though it’s debatable how many of those are going to feel inspired to recreate any of the game in the real world. Fortnite isn’t exactly known for its realism, so a bit of artistic license around the safety and survivability of electricity should probably be allowed.

In any case, the advice to avoid climbing electric poles is good, and should be followed by everyone, Fortnite player or not. Epic Games hasn’t yet responded to the IEC or requests for comment on the letter.